New life for Oceana
Janet Silvera, Hospitality Jamaica Coordinator
A 200-ROOM hotel, offices, apartments and retail stores are among the mixed-use project that the Pan-Jam group has undertaken as part of its redevelopment plans for the former Oceana Hotel complex in downtown Kingston.
PanJam, which currently owns the Courtyard Marriott in New Kingston, said construction is ongoing and it hopes to replicate the model in the old city centre.
“The project will be done in three phases, and the first phase will be completed in a couple of months,” PanJam’s chairman and chief executive officer, Stephen Facey, told Hospitality Jamaica last Friday night during the grand opening ceremony of the Courtyard Marriott.
According to him, the hotel’s redevelopment will commence in Phase Two. He is awaiting approval from the respective agencies for aspects of the project.
Located on the picturesque waterfront, the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) sold the Oceana to a Jamaican-Canadian consortium in 2014 for $385 million. The consortium comprises Canadian real estate developers, Downing Street Partners Realty, and Jamaica Property Company Ltd, which is a member of the Pan Jamaica (PanJam) Group.
The property was sold to be used primarily as a hotel, former chairman of the UDC, K.D. Knight, said during the signing of the sale agreement.
The development of Oceana Hotel is expected to breathe fresh life into downtown Kingston, in sync with the many other corporate entities that have returned to the city with millions of dollars in investment.
Pan-Jam is also searching for a Montego Bay location, with the hope of bringing the Marriott brand to the tourism capital. “If the right opportunity in Montego Bay presents itself, we would look at that, too,” Facey stated.
For the Pan-Jam chairman, both hotels signal a return to his family’s core business.
It was under his late father, Maurice Facey’s, leadership that Pan-Jam made its sojourn into the hospitality sector, the younger Facey stated. He did so with the development of the Manor House Hotel, now known as Manor Park.
Pan-Jam also developed the Skyline Hotel, now the Courtleigh Hotel and Suites, and the Sans Souci in St Ann, which is operated by the Couples group.
Facey’s enthusiasm is matched by new Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett’s who noted that Kingston was blessed with the world’s seventh largest natural harbour, boasting a history of more than 200 years.
“As a capital city, it is the heartbeat of our nation, our culture, our history; and it has several major institutions and historic buildings, which all have major appeal to tourists.”
Bartlett announced that as his ministry seeks to diversify the country’s product offerings, steps would be taken to further develop Kingston as a tourist destination.
He said focus would be placed on making”Kingston the centre of gastronomy”. Bartlett’s vision is to see tourists flocking Kingston to experience mouthwatering cuisine bursting with flavour in one location.