Every city has a commercial hub, a business centre with high traffic and avenues of shops, restaurants, a nightlife- a place called downtown.
As for Downtown Kingston, a few elements to make the area boom seem to be missing.
Over the years, the rise of new commercial centres uptown, has threatened the continued existence of Downtown Kingston, as a viable commercial centre, said the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) on its website. The country's leading urban and rural planning agency, has been working on redeveloping the area.
Various efforts have been made to rescue the area from increasing urban decay and blight.
"These have had varying levels of success, but have served to provide periodic injections to sustain life in the city," the UDC said.
President of the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce, Francis Kennedy said for downtown to thrive and become attractive, a master development plan must first be put in place.
"A group of private sector members have already made a master development plan proposal to the Government," Kennedy said.
This plan will go beyond projects for the inclusion of buildings, but will address issues like the flow of traffic for example, Kennedy said.
"We will provide the money from our own pockets or via loans," he added.
Modern skyscrapers provide the infrastructure for a thriving commercial and business district in the area, the UDC said.
"Come downtown," said Don Wehby, Grace Kennedy's chief executive officer. The Harbour Street-based company, has made Downtown it's home for 90 years.
Dubbing the area as an ideal place to do business, Wehby said downtown already has the potential to attract businesses that can create employment, driving economic growth.
Until a proper plan is put in place, the restructuring and development of the area will be slower and the investments wont come in as quickly, Kennedy said.
To put things into perspective, the Chamber's head said downtown is a 9:00 am to 5:00 pm city.
"The people who work there live elsewhere. After 5:00 pm, it's dead", Kennedy said.
Like Wehby, Kennedy believes the area needs economic drivers. "It must be made into a 24 hour city, with security of course," he said.
Entertainment will do the trick. It will drive people there, Kennedy said.
"My vision is the cruise ship pier, with boat rides. I'd love to see a track and field museum and visits to the Bob Marley Museum," Wehby said.
If made into reality, "these things will create employment," he said.
Based on Wehby's and Kennedy's reckoning, a structured plan to create restaurants and a retail space, "will complement the cruise ship,
Apart from Downtown being an ideal place for doing business, the tax benefits add appeal to the area.
Despite the continuing trek 'Uptown', downtown has remained the significant hub of the city; the seat of the government, commerce, finance; as well as the major market district for wholesale/retail activities and transportation.
Perhaps the two most important incentives available to potential investors are the Urban Renewal Bond- loan investments which allow investors in special development areas (SDAs), such as the downtown to mobilise finds for the projects there with tax free interest.
Tax Incentive Programme (TIP), which the government provides gives tax relief as an incentive to companies or individuals investing in SDAs.
The Kingston Waterfront Redevelopment Company (KWRC) formed in 1967, was the first major attempt to resuscitate the area and bring new life to downtown Kingston.
There is a vision for area shared by those who live, work or have allegiance to the city.
"There is a new outlook for business and a renewed sense of purpose in tackling the challenges of comprehensive development of the area," the UDC said.
Already, Telecommunications Company, Digicel collaborated with the UDC to get investments in the planning agency's Northern Car Park Project.
It will accommodate 800 vehicles, most of which will belong to the 1,200 Digicel employees who will be relocated to downtown Kingston.
NEM Insurance, GraceKennedy and the Scotiabank are among the companies that have invested in the redevelopment of downtown Kingston.
The plans for Downtown Kingston envisage holistic, sustainable development, including social and human resource enhancements, macro-economic priorities, shifts in production, trade and investment, forging partnerships and eliciting the support and full participation of the entire community, UDC said.