Jamaica News: Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, on Wednesday (May 13), broke ground for a major redevelopment and expansion project being undertaken by the Factories Corporation of Jamaica (FCJ) at the Garmex Free Zone complex on Marcus Garvey Drive in Kingston.
The project, which is geared towards providing additional space for manufacturing, warehousing and distribution, among other activities, will entail the construction of 13 buildings and other facilities on 8.7 acres of land, across three phases.
Some 370,000 square feet of additional space is slated to be built during the first two phases.
Phase one will see the development of 126,000 square feet to accommodate the manufacturing, warehousing, and distribution operations of small, medium and large enterprises, at a cost of approximately $940 million.
This segment is projected for completion within 14 months, with the remaining 244,000 square feet slated for buildout during the second phase, at a cost of at least $1.4 billion.
Phase three will entail, among other things, developments involving existing structures at the complex.
Mr. Holness, who has portfolio responsibility for the FCJ, toured the project site on Wednesday (May 13), along with Chairman, Lyttleton Shirley, and Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, who is Member of Parliament for West Kingston, where the Garmex complex is located.
The Prime Minister said that having given construction industry stakeholders the go-ahead to resume activities, “I am happy to see that the Factories Corporation of Jamaica has heeded that advice and is moving ahead with this massive… project”.
“At this location, which was built in the 1970s and expanded in the 1980s… we haven’t seen much new happen.
Other than rehabilitation, the FCJ has not built any new warehousing capacity, so this is the first time in many years that the FCJ will be expanding our warehousing capacity,” he noted.
Noting that the Garmex Free Zone’s more than 500,000 square feet of existing space is “fully occupied”, Mr. Holness said there has been growing demand for more.
“It is a sign that there is real demand in the economy… [which] the economists call effective demand. To meet that effective demand, we have to make the investment… and the FCJ is fulfilling that responsibility,” he added.
In his remarks, Mr. Shirley said the FCJ is “excited” to be embarking on the venture, noting that “it has been in the making for a while”.
He noted too that, on average, the FCJ gets requests for at least 400,000 square feet of warehousing space per annum.
The Chairman said that in light of this and the fact that “we are presently [at] 100 per cent occupancy”, it made practical sense “that we go into expansion mode”.
“The base of our economy is the construction industry… and there is no better time to really ramp up the construction industry with the Prime Minister leading us off [than] during this challenging time of COVID-19. So we are thankful that the Prime Minister has given us the breathing space to get us cracking and starting… and we are on the move,” he added.
For his part, Mr. McKenzie said the project is welcomed, “because we are seeing opportunities for jobs”.
He gave the assurance that the residents and other stakeholders of West Kingston “will protect this investment” because, “at the end of the day, [it is] the people [who] will benefit significantly”.
Source: JIS News