The MoU was signed between the government’s Urban Development Corporation (UDC) and the South America division of China Construction Company of America (CCA). It involves the Oval Zone project, which includes the Parliament and government offices.
Last year, the prime minister announced that the government would seek to develop a campus of government buildings that will surround the National Heroes Circle. The aim is to bring together all ministries, agencies and departments into a purpose-built area in order to achieve greater efficiency and provide greater security and improved service. In 2010, the UDC had designated the National Heroes Circle and the surrounding zone as the space to locate the parliament and a national museum, with government offices and mixed-use commercial, residential and service zones built around the oval.
The signing of the MoU is the first phase of the project, which will see the CCA providing consultancy services for the design concept of each zone.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness said he is happy with the public-private partnership, which he said signals the start of great things for Jamaica.
“In concentrating development effort we could become the catalyst for the wider redevelopment of the downtown Kingston area,” he said. “The general vision is not just to put up square boxes that rise several stories. The vision is to build buildings that represent the future of Jamaica. Buildings that show the aspiration of the Jamaican people, structures that when we look at them we can say we are leaving legacies for future generations, and when you put them all together you can also say that we are building communities.”
He added that the government will provide the lands, ensure that the regulatory environment works in an efficient and supportive way and will participate in the design and development of the project. We will ensure security for our Chinese partners who will be working in Jamaica, and we will ensure that generally, the atmosphere around this project is one that is representative of the good relationship that exists between the government of Jamaica and the government of China.”