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Senior director at the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ), Dr Paul Robertson (second left), points out areas of interest to new Tourism Enhancement Fund Chairman Godfrey Dyer (second right), during a tour with chairman of the PAJ, Professor Gordon Shirley (left) and other technocrats last week in Falmouth. - Photo by Janet Silvera
Christopher Shaw (right) of APEC presenting on the new Hampden Wharf development, while senior director at the Port Authority of Jamaica, Dr Paul Robertson, listens attentively. - Contributed
A section of the Hampden Wharf. - Photo by Janet Silvera

Redeveloped Hampden Wharf to add spice to Falmouth

Janet Silvera, Hospitality Jamaica Coordinator

Chairman of the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), Godfrey Dyer, estimates that the first phase of Falmouth's newest attraction, the Hampden Wharf, should be ready for the start of the 2016-2017 winter tourist season.

Dyer, while on a tour of the historic facility last Tuesday, said the project, which will take between 19 months and two years to complete, will transform the cruise ship town, not only for tourists, but local residents.

He is also keen on seeing the construction of the artisan village, conceptualised and touted by Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett, come to fruition.

"Falmouth's artisan village will probably be the first," he said, noting that the tourism minister was strong on having these villages set up in Ocho Rios, Falmouth and Montego Bay.

According to Dyer, the project is being financed fully by the TEF.

HAMPDEN WHARF DEVELOPMENT

Adjacent to the historic Falmouth Port, which welcomes thousands of cruise ship passengers weekly, the Hampden Wharf development consists of the restoration of the renowned Tharpe House, as well as the creation of an artisan village.

The project, located on approximately 1.6 hectares of land, contains a series of old wharf buildings that are being redevelop by the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ) as part of an attraction to expand the commercial real estate and entertainment facilities in the town of Falmouth.

"Primarily, the intention is to create a seamless integration between the current port facilities and the town facilities. So, it's meant as a facility that will serve both town and cruise ship. And it will have in it a series of commercial spaces (of) approximately 1,800 square metres, a diverse array of apparel stores, restaurants, mini marts, banks ...," Christopher Shaw of APEC Consultants Limited told Hospitality Jamaica.

"It will house 30 open artisan shops in about 540 square metres; entertainment area with performance stage, a museum which is a restoration of the Tharpe House, public toilets and parking facilities, and the restoration of the Rural Agricultural Development Authority building, which is just outside the port facility," said Shaw.

The idea is to get the TEF to develop the artisan shops, where the people can make and produce craft that is indigenous to Jamaica.

According to the APEC consultant, aspects of the proposal include an entertainment area, an outdoor theatre, similar to Emancipation Park or to Quincy Market in Boston, "so that entertainment and culture are part of it".

The architect said efforts are also in place to get commercial revenue that can be generated from it. "So, all of the old buildings will be transformed," he stated.

Ideally, what the PAJ is trying to facilitate in the development is a three-tiered, commercial development, where large shops such as KFC, and medium- size operators, similar to what now exist in the town, as well as the small vendors can operate within a structured environment within the facility.

Senior director at the PAJ, Dr Paul Robertson, revealed that they were currently looking at attractions that will come in the project with the agency.

Unable to put an estimate to the project at this time, Dr Robertson said the scope had changed in the last two years. However, he is more convinced, now more than ever, that the project will make a lot of difference to commercial activity in the town.

"It will fill a void that exists in terms of certain amenities that are not in Falmouth," he said.

Janet.silvera@gleanerjm.com 

 

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