R Hotel In The Making
On July 2016, The Jamaica Observer covered the announcement of The R Hotel construction in Kingston.
The article detailed the following:
Architect Evan Williams’ decade concept of the Renfrew Hotel in New Kingston came alive Monday with a reception marking the start of construction of the hotel, scheduled to be opened on October 28, 2017.
Minister of Finance and the Public Service Audley Shaw, minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation Daryl Vaz, and former Minister of Tourism Dr Wykeham McNeill were among the guests attending the function.
So too was American investor Joseph Bogdanovich, who has made Kingston his home since 1999, and has been expanding his investments in the island since establishing the popular Downsound Records more than a decade ago.
Bogdanovich told the guests that his involvement in the hotel project is only his latest intervention into local industry since setting down roots in Kingston.
“In doing so I also committed to making the fullest contribution I could to the nation’s development, and over the years I have become involved in several areas of business activities,” he told the audience.
Bogdanavich, who is also involved with the Kingston Live Entertainment (KLE) Group, which owns Usain Bolt’s Tracks and Records, and just bought control of the annual Montego Bay-based music festival, Reggae Sumfest, said that he became involved with the venture because he saw the need for an extended stay hotel in the capital city.
It wasn’t a great stretch for me to recognise the need for an extended stay hotel in the city, of the type described by Evan. It was a need that I experienced myself and that has often been expressed by my clients,” he said.
“I was fortunate enough to have retained Mr Williams to design an office building for me, a fortuitous decision that led to the joining of forces to create the Renfrew Hotel,” he stated.
“I see a great future for Jamaica and for its capital city. Personally, I have made a significant commitment to that future and I am confident that Brand Jamaica will only continue to increase in value,” he added.
He said, too, that he welcomed the opportunity to be part of the venture, “not only because I expect the hotel to be of practical use to me and my business activities, but also because I consider it to be an excellent investment and a masterpiece in architectural design and future thinking”.
Vaz noted that the project had been rejected by the building authorities in 2007/08, and when Williams appealed to the Government, he was the minister involved at the time in the OPM.
He said that after visiting the site to see what was being offered, he eventually upheld the appeal in 2008, allowing Williams to go ahead in search of his team and financing.
“What it says is that we have to think out of the box and we have to work out of the box, and what we have to do is look at what obtains in other jurisdictions and see how they did it and try and duplicate it, rather than just saying ‘no, it cannot work’,” Vaz said.
“I want to make a commitment that anything that can bring growth and job creation will be looked at, and we will work feverishly to make it happen. That does not include only large foreign investments, but anything that can generate growth and job creation, local or overseas,” he added.
Also speaking at the function was former Minister of Tourism Dr Wykeham McNeill, who insisted that there is a need for more rooms in the Corporate Area.
“The fact of the matter is that it has been a limiting factor for us when we have big events and want to have big events in Kingston and there are not enough rooms. So I am happy to see this development,” he said.
Director of Tourism Paul Pennycooke, who represented travelling Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett, said that the ministry was confident that the Renfrew will make an impact on Jamaica’s hotel and business landscape.
“I am confident that the team will make Renfrew an outstanding product and symbol of business ingenuity and a representation of our vision for prosperity,” he said.
The function was chaired by journalist Clyde McKenzie.