UDC Collaborates with Kingston College to Present Public Lecture on Resuscitating Downtown Kingston
The Urban Development Corporation (UDC) collaborated with the Kingston College as part of the school’s 90th Anniversary celebrations to stage a special lecture focusing on Urban Renewal and the Resuscitation of downtown Kingston at the Jamaica Conference Centre on June 4, 2015.
In his address, Desmond Malcolm, UDC General Manager stated that, ‘the UDC has over the last two years, made available assets such as the Machado and Jamintel buildings, the Oceana hotel to facilitate the downtown Kingston redevelopment process. Already, the new owners of Oceana Hotel have started their refurbishing of that facility while work is set to start very soon on the Grace Kennedy Commercial and Parking Development and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Foreign Trade offices Downtown. Similarly in Port Royal, works are being undertaken in partnership with the Tourism Enhancement Fund such as the transformation of the Old Naval Hospital into an experiential museum.
Continuing he noted ‘Downtown and particularly the waterfront has become the venue of choice for a number of events. The Jamaica Conference Centre of course, for conferences, weddings, graduations, workshops. Our waterfront however has hosted from fashion to stage shows, product launches to brunches and of course the UDC calendar event Fireworks on the Waterfront, which draws in excess of 200,000 persons to the location, in addition to many more who watch from vantage points around the city or the televised event’.
The main public lecture which was presented by Ronald Brown, Chief Planner at the UDC focused on the redevelopment plans for downtown Kingston and the advancement of these plans. A feature of the presentation was the Lane Restructuring Programme which is a pilot housing project focusing on downtown Kingston. This has seen the transformation of select yards in the inner-city areas of Hanover Street and Chestnut Lane from crumbling structures to more reinforced buildings with proper sewerage connections. The UDC is collaborating with the National Housing Trust to explore ways to broaden the scope and impact of the project.
Also featured in the presentation was the Festival Market Place and Food Bazaar, downtown Kingston which is currently undergoing construction. This area which is adjacent to the Victoria Craft Market is envisioned to be the premier waterfront destination. It will be a waterfront extension of the renewed Market and Commercial Districts to the north, as well as the terminal point of the existing east-west pedestrian arcade and promenade. The Food Bazaar project will be completed during this financial year. It is anticipated that this will become the place to go at lunch time and after hours.
The Victoria Craft Market has been refurbished and will possibly be diversified to include a restaurant on the second level of the two story structure. The ground level activity will be expected to spill out onto the lawns of the Food Bazaar with the ferry deck and pier.
Investors will be invited soon to take up concessions at the Festival Marketplace in line with the Corporation’s plans to facilitate in-bond and local shopping; restaurants and bars; loft apartments; multi-use commercial/office space; indoor/outdoor exhibition space, vendors arcade, marina and docking facilities, multipurpose outdoor recreational/entertainment space adjacent to craft market; parking and bridged connection over Port Royal Street.
The UDC celebrates 47 years of making development happen in Jamaica.