Chinese Kingston Hotel targets 2014 opening

BY SHAMILLE SCOTT Business reporter scotts@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

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THE Chinese developer of a hotel behind Devon House hopes to start building in May.

ZDA Construction Limited's three-storey business boutique hotel will have about 46 rooms, according to its Deputy General Manager, Gary Zhong.

"If all goes well, it shouldn't take more than 10 months to be completed," he said.

The Bank of China gave funding for the construction, and the hotel will cost US$7 million ($685.6 million), Zhong said.

Already, the company has been granted planning permission and environmental permit with stipulated conditions by the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA).

The initial plan was to have a 56-bedroom hotel with a multi-purpose games room, an open-air party space on the roof, along with a gym, a meeting room, a pool and a restaurant.

But, the plans have since been modified to include a restaurant, a meeting room and a pool, according to Zhong.

"We took off the fitness club and there will be no roof entertainment," he said.

When the proposal to build the hotel was made last year, the resident of the Canterbury Manor Citizens Association objected to some aspects the development.

Residents complained that the hotel is out of character, as most adjoining buildings along Kingsway do not exceed two floors, and that it could restrict light and airflow, according to the citizen's association.

Buildings on Kingsway are primarily residential and a hotel with large-scale business entertainment and recreational activities would be out of place, it said last year.

Even with an amendment, the residents have still raised some concerns.

"The proposed redesign still does not address our overriding concern that the development will adversely impact the residential orientation of Kingsway and is consistent with the multi-family housing developments typical of the area," the association said.

But NEPA's chief executive officer and government town planner, Peter Knight said quite a bit of work has been done with the investors on the plans.

"They (ZDA) have redesigned it and have taken the plans to us many times," Knight said. "We can't keep going back and forth, the decision has been made by the board."

ZDA's lawyer, George Duncan, said the principal will do what is required by the authorities and the company will follow through with
the plans.

He said the character of the area has changed with time and a three-storey boutique business hotel shouldn't be an issue.

"The area was for single family homes, but has changed to multi-family homes, and some businesses are nearby," he said. "Foreign direct investment would be brought to the country, value will be added to the land, and it will improve the aesthetics of area, because the area currently has an empty lot."

ZDA constructed the Basic Medical Science Complex of the University of West Indies, Mona Campus and according to Zhong, the company has its eyes set on building some low-income houses in the future.

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