Ho­tel to be built in Bar­bican

Jamaica Gleaner - - BUSINESS - Steven Jack­son Se­nior Busi­ness Re­porter

AR­CHI­TECT JEREMY Millin­gen is part of a de­sign team work­ing on a new high-rise ho­tel that will over­look Bar­bican square, which it­self is in the process of a trans­for­ma­tion to bring bet­ter traf­fic flow man­age­ment to the ex­pand­ing com­mer­cial hub.

The road­work, which have be­gun with the de­mo­li­tion of struc­tures in the square to make way for wider roads and re­align­ment of the traf­fic sys­tem, is al­ready chang­ing the look of the square.

The planned six-storey ho­tel would add a dif­fer­ent type of busi­ness to an area that is largely pop­u­lated by re­tail­ers, with a few of­fices in be­tween, and would be one of the tallest ed­i­fices in the vicin­ity.

The ho­tel will be de­vel­oped at 23-25 East Kings House Road. The prop­erty ad­joins Bar­bican Cen­tre, which is owned by the Loshu­sans, but the gro­cery fam­ily is said to have no part in the ho­tel pro­ject.

Millin­gen, the pro­ject en­gi­neer, held back on the iden­tity of the ho­tel de­vel­oper, but said it was be­ing done in part­ner­ship be­tween Ja­maican and Amer­i­can in­ter­ests.

The ho­tel will cater to a mix of clients, in­clud­ing busi­ness trav­ellers and vis­it­ing Ja­maicans. It would be­come the lat­est high rise in Kingston cur­rently un­der­go­ing a rede­vel­op­ment of its sky­line. The com­plex is still in the de­sign stages.

“It is a Ja­maican and Amer­i­can joint ven­ture,” said Millin­gen. “It is pro­posed to have ap­prox­i­mately 120 rooms,” he said.

Ti­tles Of­fice doc­u­ments show that the land was ac­quired by George Naim Habib in 2016 from Ed­ward Charles Hanna.

The or­nate stone house that sits on the prop­erty is be­ing in­cor­po­rated into the de­sign of the ho­tel com­plex, which is aim­ing to pro­ject a mix of con­tem­po­rary and old-world charm.

Millin­gen said it was up to the de­vel­op­ers to com­ment on the in­vest­ment to be made.

The Na­tional En­vi­ron­ment and Plan­ning Agency (NEPA) ap­proved the ho­tel pro­ject ear­lier this year. Millin­gen said the ho­tel

will have five floors above ground, while the sixth would be at base­ment level.

Talks are on­go­ing with the Loshu­sans to open up a gate­way link­ing the ho­tel and Bar­bican Cen­tre.

“One of the strengths of the de­vel­op­ment is the shop­ping plaza,” said Millin­gen.

He af­firmed that the Loshu­sans were not the de­vel­op­ers, but de­clined to com­ment on whether it was Habib.

The Loshu­sans’ Bar­bican Cen­tre and Bar­bican Cir­cle prop­er­ties are held un­der the same com­pany, Ken­neth Loshu­san & Sons, said a per­son with knowl­edge of the struc­ture of the hold­ings. Ken Loshu­san passed away six years ago.

The Sun­day Gleaner con­tacted a mem­ber of the fam­ily busi­ness, Glad­stone Loshu­san, for ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion on the ges­tat­ing plans for Bar­bican Cir­cle, but was re­ferred to Bruce Loshu­san, who was over­seas and un­reach­able by Gleaner Busi­ness.

“That pro­ject is big­ger than me,” Glad­stone Loshu­san said.

It was al­ways the con­sid­er­a­tion that the pub­lic road that splits Bar­bican Cen­tre and the Bar­bican Cir­cle prop­erty would be elim­i­nated in the traf­fic re­design by Na­tional Works Agency.

Last week, the Loshu­sans were cleared to ac­quire more of Bar­bican Cir­cle when the Kingston and St An­drew Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion voted in favour of sell­ing 29 East Queen Street to Ken­neth Loshu­san & Sons and Grant Mar­ket­ing Com­pany, sig­nalling that the fam­ily was get­ting closer to ex­e­cut­ing plans for ei­ther the ex­ten­sion of Bar­bican Cen­tre or de­vel­op­ment of a new com­mer­cial com­plex that has been talked about for at least seven years.

Bar­bican is an untested lo­ca­tion for a ho­tel. Millin­gen said the joint ven­ture de­vel­op­ers are in talks with a few global ho­tel chains un­der whose brand the prop­erty hopes to operate.

“We think the ho­tel will work and we are talk­ing to a few brands over­seas,” he said.

The ho­tel mar­ket in Kingston is ex­pand­ing, with new projects like the ‘R’, 77 Knutsford, and PanJam’s Caribbean Place un­der de­vel­op­ment. Millin­gen be­lieves the Bar­bican ho­tel would still find its mar­ket given its jux­ta­po­si­tion with the busy plaza, and by fly­ing the flag of a global ho­tel brand.

The ma­jor­ity of top ho­tels in Kingston are cen­tralised in and around the busi­ness dis­trict of New Kingston.

PHOTO BY STEVEN JACK­SON

The prop­erty at 25 East Kings House Road on which a ho­tel is to be built.

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