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Jimmy Cliff Boulevard engineering works retendered

The Jamaican Govern-ment has reopened the tender for civil and structural engineering works planned for the upgrade of the Jimmy Cliff Boulevard in Montego Bay, popularly known as the Hip Strip.

It’s the latest development in the path towards upgrading the strip, which has benefited in recent years from new stores and a wave of short-term rental travellers.

The original tender for civil and structural engineering works opened in January. The retender by the Tourism Enhancement Fund, TEF, opened in August.

The upgrade will include cobbled-stone streets replacing the asphalt street, adding palm trees along the promenade, and building a multi-storey car park.

The works under what is referred to as the CRUMP – Montego Bay Hip Strip project, which encompasses a comprehensive resort upgrade management plan, will span a 3.2-kilometre stretch.

The TEF has already procured the architectural designs along with electrical engineering plans for the project. It now wants civil and structural plans from an engineering consultant firm, who will be required to finalise the designs within a year after selection.

A key aspect of the retender, depicted in bold lettering in the tender document, involves the “structural design of a multi-storey car park at the Jewish Cemetery”, which runs along the boulevard once known as Gloucester Avenue prior its renaming in honour of reggae legend Jimmy Cliff. The car park will have space for 252 cars and span three storeys.

A decade earlier, the Hip Strip was in decline, due to the closure of hotels such as the former Breezes Montego Bay, Fantasy Resort, and Casa Montego. These closures resulted in a reduction in tourists walking the strip. Today, other hotels have emerged, including S Hotel, along with several bed-and-breakfast operations in Montego Bay, which has resulted in more travellers on the strip.

The TEF hopes that the development will raise the profile of the area and ultimately draw more business to the strip.

Last October, the agency said the Jimmy Cliff Boulevard redevelopment would cost about $1 billion. The project should have begun in April.

The renaming of Gloucester Avenue to Jimmy Cliff Boulevard was done five years ago.

Cliff, a native of Somerton district in St James, gained popularity in the 1960s, but made hits in every decade onwards.