Developing derelict buildings in downtown Kingston
Issa Construction leading upgrading projectSunday, May 09, 2021
BY DURRANT PATE
ISSA Construction is leading the redevelopment of downtown Kingston especially the upgrading of old derelict buildings in the capital city.
The company has taken a keen interest in acquiring such buildings, which many real estate brokers and agents say is ripe for the picking, as the area (downtown Kingston) undergoes a transformation with renewed interest in property development.
Issa Construction Managing Director Peter Issa stated that the redevelopment of some of these derelict buildings with the acquisition of three properties located at 169-175 Harbour Street, 7 Pechon Street (which extends to 7-11 West Street) as well as 4 West Street.
In an exclusive interview with the Jamaica Observer's Sunday Finance, Issa informed that the company has spent millions of dollars in buying and developing these properties but shied away from giving precise figures. He disclosed that the first property, which was acquired at 169-175 Harbour Street, was restored last year.
The property has been redeveloped into a 4,000 square foot office complex with 32 parking spaces. The property is currently leased to Imperial Optical, which will be establishing a retail outlet there.
The property behind that location, which is at 4 West Street, was acquired for additional parking for the building at 7 Pechon Street, extending to 7-11 West Street.
Issa shared with Sunday Finance his dream of leading the charge to bring about a transformation of downtown Kingston to its glory days when the area was the place of pride in this parish.
DEVELOPING DOWNTOWN KINGSTON ONE PROPERTY
The Issa Construction boss is optimistic about the future for downtown Kingston and is unrelenting in his drive to make a difference in bringing back the capital to its glory days. “If we have to do it one property at a time, we are willing to do it,” lamented Issa, who is also a real estate broker.
He stated there is already overwhelming interest in the old Jamaica Record building, which is being fashioned into a commercial complex suitable for a business process outsourcing (BPO) centre or commercial office. The complex, which should be ready for July this year, will comprise 25,000 square feet with 45 on site parking spots and an additional 35 off site.
Issa was quick to emphasise that his company hasn't just come recently to downtown Kingston but has been scouting the area for the past four to five years, searching out properties for development.
DEBUNKING STIGMA ABOUT DOWNTOWN BEING UNSAFE
Issa sought to debunk the stigma about downtown Kingston being unsafe, stating that “downtown Kingston is just as safe as New Kingston, Half-Way-Tree, New Kingston or any other major commercial area in Jamaica”. He pointed to the push by some corporate companies going downtown such as Digicel, GraceKennedy – which last year opened its new corporate head office building – and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which has just set up office at its new high-rise building.
He argued that these entities coming downtown has given a vote of confidence that the area is just as safe as other places in Jamaica. Issa also made the point that his work crew as well as the principals of his company have never felt unsafe in carrying out their business downtown, and is encouraging more developers to come on board in redeveloping the capital city.
Issa gave credit to the residents in the area, many of whom had occupied the buildings that are being redeveloped, regarding their orderly relocation in which his company has greatly assisted. He remarked that the residents have bought into his dream and therefore their buy-in was easily attained.
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