Jamaica Observer / After more than 20 years of being promised housing solutions in their community, residents of Denham Town, Kingston can finally breathe a sigh of relief. Twenty-eight apartment units — four of which will be two-bedroom apartments while the others will be studios — are to be constructed at Metcalfe Street and Wellington Street in Denham Town.
News of the planned construction came at a signing ceremony for the project, which will cost just over $72 million, at the Dominica Drive offices of the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation in New Kingston on Tuesday.
The contractor for the project is SM Quality Construction.
A continuation of a redevelopment project for the area that had seen National Housing Trust (NHT) building 94 apartment units on lands owned by the Ministry of Housing in 2005, the decision was taken to continue the redevelopment of Denham Town following discussions with key stakeholders including NHT and Jamaica Social Investment Fund.
“This was with a view to providing improved and affordable housing solutions, as the majority of the structures are in disrepair and lack the requisite infrastructure,” permanent secretary in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation Audrey Sewell said Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Member of Parliament for Kingston Western Desmond McKenzie said he is grateful for the project.
“I am exceedingly happy because I waited from 1989 for an event like this. The original Denham Town has been waiting for the completion of the development that was started in the area by the former prime minister and Member of Parliament the Most Honourable Edward Seaga,” he said.
The MP said that the project will lift the standard of the area and improve the quality of life of residents. He said, too, that the project will benefit residents who have difficulty obtaining affordable housing.
Minister without portfolio in the Economic Growth Ministry Dr Horace Chang told the Jamaica Observer on Tuesday that, “the entire area downtown [Kingston] needs significant redevelopment, not just in West Kingston.”
“Across downtown [Kingston] we have these big yards, some are squatting, some of them are rented, but they are old and dilapidated buildings which catch fire almost on a regular basis.
“As we improve the infrastructure, you’ll have some of them going to multi-family units, rather than single-family units,“ he said. “You’ll have accommodation for current residents as well as for new residents.”
Dr Chang said the ministry is seeking to bring new life and activity through the redevelopment of the entire downtown Kingston area. “The ultimate goal is to make downtown Kingston revert to being the place where persons want to work and raise their families,” he said.
— Falon Folkes