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UDC acquiring historic buildings downtown- Monday 18, August 2014 -
THE General Manager of the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) Desmond Malcolm says the agency will continue to acquire historic and derelict buildings in downtown Kingston, and refurbish them as part of a drive to develop more office space to attract businesses and government offices.
This strategy, he said, should also capture the low real estate prices now in the market. He said the UDC would either refurbish the buildings or seek developers to rehabilitate them.
The general manager, who was speaking at a recent JIS 'Think Tank', said the drive supports efforts by the Kingston Restoration Company (KRC), which is an urban regeneration agency, that has spearheaded the restoration of several historic buildings in the city.
Meanwhile, Malcolm said as part of plans for the renewal of downtown Kingston, the UDC continues to play an active role in the development of markets in the city. He informed that the corporation is currently working on completing the renovation of the Jubilee and Red Rose Fish markets, and phase two of the Coronation Market.
"We recognise that the market district is a very important part of the commercial activities in downtown Kingston," he noted.
Recently, UDC received the Jamaica Architects' Award for Excellence in remodelling/refurbishing, for its work on the Simon Bolivar Cultural Centre at North Parade and Church Street in downtown Kingston.
The UDC acted as project manager, by preparing architectural drawings; obtaining the necessary approvals; and overseeing the construction of the centre.
"It is a spectacular building and will certainly add a lot of benefit to the Parade area," Malcolm said.
The historic Ward Theatre in downtown Kingston, which is located next to the Simon Bolivar Cultural Centre, is also receiving technical support from UDC.
Malcolm said although the corporation does not have responsibility for the Ward Theatre, it will provide support.
"So, the plan is to upgrade Love Lane... so that the entire corridor will be rehabilitated," Malcolm noted.