The construction of the first new building for Government office accommodations was approved by Cabinet last week, Leader of Government Business said at the weekly press briefing.
The building will be constructed on the old Racquet Club site next to the Glass House, the current government administration building.
‘We’re moving ahead with the project,’ Mr. Tibbetts said. ‘The first step is the tendering of contracts.’
The project will be tendered on a design-and-build basis, so the specifications of the building are not yet know.
Because of the complexity of the bidding process for a design-and-build project of this magnitude, it will probably be nine months to a year before construction starts.
Mr. Tibbetts also said there had been no decision reached on what to do about the Tower Building on South Church Street.
‘We’re waiting on a final report, and once we receive that, we’ll make the decision,’ he said.
The Tower Building was severely damaged by Hurricane Ivan and rendered unusable. Even before Ivan, however, it was decided the building would be demolished.
Mr. Tibbetts said there were many options available in dealing with the Tower Building and its land.
One plan would have a portion of the Tower Building property taken for the Legislative Assembly Building to be used for parking and possible expansion.
The whole property could also be left for the Legislative Assembly to ensure that there would always be enough room for expansion, Mr. Tibbetts said.
Another option is to sell the property and use the proceeds to help defray the cost of the new government administration buildings.
The site could also be redeveloped for the government again, Mr. Tibbetts said.
The Government has promised to create a ‘green area’ in George Town, and it has also been proposed to demolish the Tower Building and let it become that green area.
Mr. Tibbetts said the government thinks the current Glass House site might be a better green area because it is bigger.
However, the Government has not yet decided what to do with the Glass House. One option is to renovate it, but if that proves too expensive, it might be demolished instead.
No matter what Government decides to do with the Glass House, it will not impede the development of the new project next to it, Mr. Tibbetts said.
‘We’d have to wait until the new project is completed before we could move from the Glass House anyway,’ he said.
A second government office project is also scheduled to be built. However, it will be built on a site away from the Glass House and the first project, Mr. Tibbetts has said in the past.