Presentation to 5th Diaspora Conference (Speaking Notes)
SPEAKING NOTES - DESMOND MALCOLM, GENERAL MANAGER (URBAN DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION)
It is my distinct honour and privilege to be a participant in this the 5th diaspora conference being staged in this state of the art Montego Bay Convention Centre.
This is an exciting time for us as a country, poised, as we prepare to close out 50 years as an independent nation and ready, to usher in another 50. Challenges, there are quite a few, but we, the board, management and staff of the UDC are aware that every challenge presents its own set of opportunities and every opportunity has the potential to advance this nation of ours.
And so, this conference, under the theme “a nation on a mission: Jamaica-diaspora partnership for development”, provides just the right context, for the urban development corporation (UDC), to share with you, who, are commited to contributing to the development of this island we call home.
And so what does the UDC bring to the table? As the country’s primary development agency, we are engaged in development planning in select areas, encompassing Downtown Kingston and Port Royal, Caymanas and the north coast areas of Montego Bay, Ocho Rios and Falmouth, even as we identify discrete projects and business opportunities for the savvy investor.
Over the next few minutes I will share some of these with you.
Kingston, established as the capital in 1872, has over the years degenerated in areas, attributable in part to the relocation of some residential and economic activities to new emerging centres. Its redevelopment therefore, continues to be a priority for all downtown stakeholders. UDC has been integral to this process over the years and see our role as facilitators.
The redevelopment of the Kingston Waterfront- through the 8.9 acres festival market place and food bazaar, offers just that opportunity. The waterfront is envisaged as an extension of commercial and market districts and will offer restuarants and bars, in-bond and local shopping, loft apartments and multi-use commercial and recreational space. We are confident that the discerning investor will visualise the possibilities and make them a reality. If you will recall, the Kingston harbour is the seventh largest harbour in the world and will stand to benefit from increased commercial shipping activities
The tax incentive programme for urban renewal managed by the UDC on behalf of the ministry of finance has encouraged companies including Grace Kennedy and Jamaica national insurance (previously nem) to upgrade their facilities downtown. Digicel has also embraced the vision of downtown and has relocated its operations to the waterfront, benefitting from this incentive in the process.
But it is not just the commercial development that is of interest to the UDC and offers opportunities to investors. We see housing as one of the critical planks for development which has to be considered on several levels. Firstly, improving the housing stock of the current residents must be accommodated, as it is people, who bring life to the city. Secondly, providing accommodation and recreational space for young professionals as is done in other jurisdictions around the world.
Complementary to any development is the availability of parking and with this in mind the corporation has earmarked lands which could be developed into parking garages. We are prepared to consider appropriate proposals.
Caymanas estate, in St. Catherine, a 10,000 acre property owned by the UDC, 50% of which will be left in its natural state, that is woodland, wetlands and forest. The remaining 50% is zoned for mixed use development inclusive of lands slated for the economic zone which is integrally linked to the logistics hub. The potential for this estate is however not confined to the logistics hub as there are opportunities available for investment in infrastructural projects. Already the development of a gated community is proceeding on lands sold by the UDC.
The north coast /north east offers an array of investment possibilities –
Our attractions are a major income generating source, but are not necessarily operating at optimum, we welcome partnerships that will allow for full development in keeping with world class standards for use by jamaicans and visitors alike.
The Dunn’s river falls and park for example, already world reknowned is identified for further development that will not only enhance the product but enrich the visitor experience.
Similarly at the green globe platinum certified green grotto caves and attraction, opportunities exist for partnerships in upgrading the product offering.
Reach falls in Portland, a green destination can be further developed to diversify the offering to that evergrowing segment of the market.
We encourage our diaspora partners to assist also in speaking well of these attractions and inviting the world to come home and enjoy the faciltiies. You are helping to build brand Jamaica by doing so.
In addition to our attractions, opportunities exist for commercial and residential developments in St Ann –
In Ocho Rios, there is a proposal to revitialise the 3 mile strip known as the one love trail offering a fusion of eateries and recreational spots in a project dubbed “bull point- the authentic jamaican experience”.
An 11 acre beach front property at Cardiff Hall on the country’s northcoast offers housing opportunities for the mid to the high end of the market. We are cognizant that some members of the diaspora may have sought to invest in housing before and have been disappointed. We believe that the Cardiff Hall proposed development is one that will restore confidence. The concept is for a mix of town houses and villa type developments.
Negril’s attraction has been established on its 7 miles of white sand beach. Today we want to start another tradition, that of wellness tourism in Negril and for which interest has been indicating for creating such a facility in that area.
We have just shared the tip of the iceberg and invite you to come talk with us about…
- Partnering to clean up the Kingston harbour, an important economic zone
- Partnering with the multi stakeholders for infrastructural rehabilitation of Downtown Kingston
Come talk with us about –
- The Kingston Waterfront development
Come talk with us about -
- The Caymanas infrastructure programme
Come talk with us about -
- Bull point eco development concepts
Come talk with us about
- Dunn’s river falls and park
- The platinum certified green grotto caves and attraction
Come talk to us about
- Cardiff Hall
- The festival marketplace
Come talk to us about
- Wellness tourism in Negril
Come talk to us … members of my team wait to share further with you at the UDC booth.