The Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) is aware of feedback circulating on social media about construction underway at Courtyard at Devon House.
The development in Jamaica, which began in March 2022, seeks to address expressed concerns about safety, pedestrian flow, the functionality of the courtyard, and accessibility to the differently abled. The statement continues:
We wish to assure the public that the project is not completed and does not include upgrades to other areas of the property. To allow the public to use the facility for the Christmas season, TEF suspended the rehabilitation work for the impending holidays.
The completed space will consist of more plants to ensure that the public can continue to enjoy the oasis in the middle of the city while they shop and enjoy the gastronomy delights of Devon House, including the world-famous Devon House I-Scream. Furthermore, we assure the public that the area will appear lusher after the trees are allowed to mature, the shrubs are planted, and the vines begin to grow on the pergolas.
During the construction process, only one tree was removed. TEF decided to remove the poinciana tree after a review by the Forestry Department, which recommended its removal for public safety. They also advised that it was “ultimately better to err on the side of caution by replacing the old tree with a young sapling that can be trained to conform to contextually acceptable standards of safety.” We, therefore, followed this advice and planted a young Lignum Vitae tree in its place. Additionally, with the removal of the Poinciana tree, six other trees have been planted, including a Blue Mahoe, Lignum Vitae, and Cordia Sebestena, as well as assorted plants and shrubs.
Given the rich history and importance of Devon House to all Jamaicans, there must be continued maintenance and rehabilitation to ensure its sustainability.
The redevelopment was, therefore, very timely as we strive to maintain our historical and cultural spaces across the island.
The redesign, specifically addressed the following issues:
1. Uneven surfaces from tree roots in the vicinity
The uneven surfaces posed a potential danger to patrons, which could have resulted in Devon House becoming liable for injuries sustained by patrons.
2. Poor drainage, which led to flooding when it rained
Flooding following rainfall prevented easy access to the area for visitors and caused damage to the walkways used by patrons.
3. Limited seating for patrons
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With the increase in visitors to Devon House, the number of seats in the area was inadequate. It limited the ability of patrons to sit and enjoy the atmosphere and ambience of the courtyard.
4. Challenges regarding the movement of patrons within the area
The previous design of the area did not allow for ease of movement when traversing the various shops and restaurants in the Courtyard. Additionally, it did not include enough ramps to allow for visitors who are differently abled, or persons with baby strollers, to have access to seating in the Courtyard as well as shops, and restaurants.
The design process took three years and adhered to all necessary protocols. It started with a land survey of the area, and various concepts were developed by GW Architects, who were chosen through a tender process. To address the challenges, senior members of the TEF, the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo), and Devon House reviewed these concepts.
The optimal design was then submitted for approval to the Jamaica National Heritage Trust and the Kingston and St. Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC). Stakeholder groups were consulted by the TEF and the design was later approved by the Public Procurement Commission and the Office of the Cabinet. After that, the TEF took part in a groundbreaking ceremony in March before beginning construction. The project is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2023.
Percentage of Construction
Devon House is 4.96 hectares, and the Courtyard of Devon House is approximately 0.12 hectares. This represents 2.4% of the property that was redeveloped.
Mr. Delano Seiveright
Senior Communications Strategist
Tourism Enhancement Fund