Kerr-Jarrett expands commercial and retail space
Barnett Limited, a St James-based real estate firm, is currently expanding space, with 80,000 sq ft of business process outsourcing (BPO) space and support services including medical services, pharmacy, food services plus an office furniture showroom, paints and chemical, commercial equipment and office supplies showroom included.
The space will be known as the Barnett Business Center and will be located in the existing Barnett Tech Park, the private sector ICT Free Zone located on 100 acres of land in the Fairfield area in St James. The park includes a 46-acre (18.6-hectare) gated complex.
The company, which is headed by Managing Director Mark Kerr-Jarrett, is also developing the North Bank Distribution and Logistics Hub plus another complex called the Springs which will include both commercial and retail space suited for Montego Bay, St James.
The Barnett Tech Park, comprising buildings one through five, total of 275,000 sq ft fully leased providing 5,500 seats occupied over two-three shifts per day.
Mark Kerr Jarrett, CEO of Barnett Limited, told the Jamaica Observer, that to date, “We have invested US$40 million, and our tenants have invested approximately another U$20 million minimum.
He notes that tenant Vistaprint has added an additional 1100 seats operating two-three shifts per day. The Tech Park employs in excess of 10,000, numbers maintained from the pre-COVID period. The tech park is 100 per cent occupied by BPO.
North Bank development
Barnett Limited is also involved as developer in the Springs in Bogue, St James. Altogether, the development will be a total of over 65 lots covering approximately 100 acres.
This will be both and will be a commercial and retail development including a car dealership, home centre, among other facilities and services to serve the western region of the island.
Barnett Business Centre at the Barnett Tech Park under construction and should be completed by August 2022.
The company has also undertaken the development of North Bank Distribution and Logistics Hub – located behind the Westgate Shopping Centre – which will offer warehousing, distribution and entrepreneurship centre.
Barnett Limited is currently finishing phase one of eight for this development. Space will be available both for lease and sale.
This development includes a 14-acre site for a school, Fairfield International Academy which Barnett Limited has donated to the school for a K-12 Grade.
Kerr-Jarett outlined, “The last phase of this development will be the development of the River Walk a commercial, residential and recreational community along the North Bank of the Montego River and this will be duplicated on the south bank when The South Bank Business and financial district is developed in the future.”
Investment in the Barnett Business Center is US$12.5 million; investment in North Bank Phase 1 infrastructure is US$1.5 million and investment in the Springs Phase 1 infrastructure is US$2-3 million.
Government policy and housing needs
The developer says that there are housing needs in the western city which are going unmet, but government policy intervention is needed.
The developer notes that the Mobay Perimeter Road and Long Hill Bypass “will have a profound effect on Montego Bay and its regional significance as the hub for commerce and open up new lands for the expansion of the residential capacity of MoBay and the region.”
Housing remains one of the most urgent needs in the Western section of the island, with Kerr-Jarrett noting, “People are having to come from as far away as Negril, St Ann, Savanna-la-Mar and Santa Cruz to work in MoBay.”
Mark Kerr-Jarrett stated, “In order to enable developers to truly deliver affordable housing, it will require the Government to rethink its policy regarding import duties and GCT on all inputs to the housing industry, including permitting and titling fees.
“We have to get the price down to where one person can afford to buy a unit on their own without having to partner up, as that is a recipe for future conflict and contention. We have to enable the individual to grow on their own and develop personal wealth, equity and collateral.”