An artist’s impression of the planned business process outsourcing unit
Chief Executive Officer of development company Cascade Group Jamaica, Fredrik Moe, reckons that Jamaica could see an additional 10,000 jobs becoming available over the next five years from the construction of a commercial park – Kingston 876.
It’s the latest development of its kind in the country, covering roughly 94 acres at the corner of Tom Cringle Drive and Mandela Highway in Ferry, with planned investment of $30 billion.
Construction is now under way for Nestle Jamaica’s new distribution plant. Expectations are that the new development will host a mix of information and communications technology (ICT), manufacturing, industrial, logistics and heavy retail companies.
Already, Moe is in advanced discussions with a business process outsourcing centre, covering 100,000 square feet, which could bring the first 2000 jobs by 2019.
On completion, the property should be home to roughly seven companies.
“People are very excited, we have a lot of interest and we are in active discussions. Some have made concrete commitments verbally, the call centre is significantly advanced, but the heavy retail is also significantly advanced. Once we finalise the bulk of these discussions, we will be finalising our subdivision application. So now we are finessing the master plan and determining the needs of some of these companies,” Moe told the Jamaica Observer in a round-table interview last Friday.
Construction of the facility will be carried out by the Cascade Group and will be sold to the operators. The CEO is also in talks with the Government for Kingston 876 to be registered under the Caymanas Special Economic Zone (SEZ).
“We are certainly going to be pushing for approval under the Caymanas SEZ. There are tax incentives to be gained if the government approves, and we believe this will help drive investors to come to the project faster. Kingston 876 dovetails perfectly with the Government’s objectives for the SEZ and it’s in the same location,” Moe told the Business Observer.
Under the new SEZ Act, companies will be required to pay corporate income tax of 12.5 per cent chargeable on the developers or occupants, replacing the zero income tax rate under the current Free Zone regime. Following the tabling on the SEZ green paper last year and consultations thereafter on how the tax rate would affect investors, the Government also settled on the provision of the incentivised tax rate of 7.5 per cent income tax on condition that criteria by the Government are fulfilled, including a minimum investment cost, payment of taxes and employment numbers.
“The Government and the National Works Agency have been very cooperative in working out our needs. Also NEPA has been very responsive. But one of the main advantages of the property is its location, especially with the new North/South link highway,” Moe stated.
The property is being marketed on its strategic location, which is less than 15 minutes away from the port and access to both the North/South and East/West highways. It means that from a distribution and logistics point of view, operators will have a tremendous advantage over many other distribution and consumer goods companies.
“Kingston is in desperate need of industrial-type activity. There is very little area that is available for this type of development now, and it’s perfectly located in Kingston, but yet close to Spanish Town, Portmore, even as far as Old Harbour, Bogue, Linstead coming in on the new highway,” Moe stated.
“So instead of going into Kingston, you can now come to the edge of Kingston and be right in the middle with close proximity to the port,” he continued, adding that the location was acquired about six years ago and has since developed financing partners with the vision and the plan to begin construction.
In addition to the seven entities, Cascade Group will also be constructing a warehouse complex for small to medium-sized companies, in light of heavy demand for close proximity to the port.