The KRC was formed in response to the dramatic economic and social deterioration of the downtown area of Kingston in the mid 1970s and early 1980s. This deterioration was a consequence of the numerous fires and riots that plagued the city, as a result of which many businesses migrated from the area.
As a result the Inner Kingston Development Project was born. This was a ten year urban economic and physical development initiative, which began in July 1986. It was designed to revitalize Kingston, Jamaica’s downtown core and provide work space for economic growth and job generation. The two principal implementing agencies were the Kingston Restoration Company Limited and the Urban Development Corporation, the primary developmental parastatal organization of the Government of Jamaica with USAID being the funding agency.
The goal of the project was to reverse the negative economic trends and disinvestment that had been occurring downtown since the mid 1970s and contributed to Jamaica’s need for increased private investment and employment opportunities. The rationale in 1986 for focusing the Project on Inner Kingston was threefold: (1) it had the highest rate of unemployment in the area, (2) reversing its deterioration would help to rekindle investment expectations nationwide and (3) the area offered significant opportunities for cost savings in development because infrastructure systems were in place and vacant building shells could be rehabilitated and put to productive use economically.