COURTYARD by Marriott broke ground yesterday in New Kingston, where it is set to open a 130-room hotel.
The five-storey corporate hotel, scheduled for completion in 2015, is expected to employ 430 Jamaicans. It will boast the use of innovative technology, designed to meet high standard of energy conservation, say the developers.
This will be the eighth Marriott Courtyard Hotel in the Caribbean, the third in the English-speaking Caribbean — all developed by Caribe Hospitality, said Stephen Facey, chairman of Pan-Jamaican Investment Trust, which owns the property on which the Marriott will operate.
"Caribe Hospitality has invested US$22 million, and in addition to creating construction and full-time jobs, it will create a multiplier effect through linkages that are formed with opportunities for SMEs in the years to come," said Facey, who is also a director of Caribe Hospitality Jamaica, which comprises Caribe Hospitality, Pan-Jam, and Victor E Mouttet Ltd.
The idea to develop the hotel was first pitched in 2004, according to Facey. "Today has been a long time coming. When I started, I had dark hair, it certainly feels that way, but I am sure it is well worth the wait and effort," he told guests at the official ground-breaking ceremony in New Kingston. Facey said the plan was for the hotel to be completed and opened to welcome guests for the 2007 Cricket World Cup, but expressed disappointment in the lengthy approval process.
"While we note the Government's commitment, the approval project took three years, that is just too long," he said. "This project is about foreign investment, local investment, an international brand in the city of Kingston, and represents no threat to the environment.
"There is no reason we could not have achieved this in under 12 months," argued the Pan Jam chairman.
Now that the ground has been broken for construction, the hotel will increase the number of rooms available for tourists in Kingston, Minister of Tourism and Entertainment Wykeham McNeill said.
"Our capital city is in fact in need of extended hotel room inventory, and this hotel will help to advance even further Kingston's appeal as a centre for business and as a resort area of growing demand and significance," he added, noting that Marriott is a well recognised brand, which is an important component of any product portfolio.