Real estate firm Mark Kerr-Jarrett is gearing up to construct a huge commercial block at its tech park in Montego Bay for BPO companies looking to set up operations in Jamaica. According to the plan unveiled last week, Kerr-Jarrett will develop 50,000 square feet of office space by the end of 2014, putting in place all the necessary amenities for BPO operations, such as high-speed Internet and a round-the-clock electricity supply.
At an estimated cost of about $8 million USD, the project aims to promote Jamaica as a destination for nearshore outsourcing services. The Caribbean country is already home to more than 30 BPO firms, and with the launch of this real estate project it hopes to double the size of its outsourcing industry by 2016.
The Development Bank of Jamaica has lent $5 million USD, with Barnett agreeing to finance the remaining 30% of the cost. Construction is scheduled to begin in January 2014, with a completion date 10 months later in October.
Local BPO firm Vista Print has already built up a 120,000-square-foot customer service center at one corner of the Tech Park. Barnett says Vista’s center will serve as a “benchmark” for future development.
The real estate firm has set aside 48 acres in its tech park for developing infrastructure for the BPO firms. Jamaica has emerged as the leading contact center location in the English-speaking Caribbean with over 10,000 full time agents in the offshore business process outsourcing (BPO) sector.
“We really believe that the ICT/BPO industry is so important to Jamaica and can and will play a major part in meeting Jamaica’s growth projections,” said Kerr-Jarrett. “For example 10,000 seats on a single shift can contribute $3.6 billion per annum, and at 3 shifts $10.8 billion per annum in direct taxes, and if we assume a 3:1 multiplier the numbers become very significant”, he continued.
“It is important that we do not lose sight of the goal to make available 1.2 million square foot of space by 2016 to meet the growing demand for space, and to meet our target of doubling the size of the sector by then,” added Anthony Hylton, Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce.
The Caribbean country has been recognized by Gartner as a destination to watch and by A.T. Kearney as a favorable BPO destination.
The tech park will be equipped with infant and toddler care services, a canteen, doctor’s office, banking, recreation and fitness services.