Gov’t building site short-listed

Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts said in Finance Committee last Friday the Government has short-listed four potential sites for the second government office accommodation project.

‘One is up at Spotts opposite the cemetery, although you will remember there were some problems when we wanted to build a school there,’ he said.

‘There’s also some consideration for a site near Agape [Family Worship Centre on Fairbanks Road], up on the hill near the CUC substation.’

Mr. Tibbetts said the other sites on the short list were one on the Grand Harbour property and one on the Camana Bay property next to the Islander Complex.

The Government announced previously the first project would be located on the site next to the current government accommodations at the Glass House.

The first project had a budget item approved for $7.6 million in the next fiscal year, while $4.33 million was approved for the second project.

Mr. Tibbetts explained there were still some questions about which government ministries and departments would be located in the first building. The size of the building would in the end be determined by the amount of space required by its occupants.

‘We’re not 100 per cent sure how many square feet will be in Project One, but we know globally what we need for the two buildings.’

Mr. Tibbetts estimated that the first building would consist of ‘more than one half and closer to two-thirds’ of the total space required in the two buildings.

‘The second building will be smaller,’ he said.

Completion of the second project would only be ‘a few months behind’ that of the first project, Mr. Tibbetts said.

Subject to the exact drawings and construction contracts, the first project is estimated to cost $49 million and the second building is estimated to cost $25 million, Mr. Tibbetts said.

Of the $7.6 million allocated on the first project, $4 million will be used for actual construction, with the balance used for a variety of preparatory work and consulting.

On the second project, $2.5 million of the $4.33 million will be used on land acquisition, $1 million on actual construction and the rest on preparatory work and consultants.

Mr. Tibbetts said $2.5 million is the ceiling price for the land acquisition for the second project, including stamp duty.

‘None of the [four short-listed] properties will cost more than that,’ he said.

The Caymanian Compass has learned that a proposal from the Camana Bay group includes the donation of a suitable parcel of land worth an estimated $3 million.

Both new government accommodation buildings will be built to Category 5 standards, Mr. Tibbetts said.

‘That policy will be used for all government buildings in the future,’ he said, adding that Hurricane Ivan was ‘a real eye-opener’ with regard to need for buildings that could withstand hurricanes.

In answer to a question from West Bay MLA Cline Glidden, Mr. Tibbetts said the government would not entertain a proposal from a developer who had land and wanted to build a building for the government on that land.

‘We must be able to purchase the land,’ he said.

Asked specifically about Camana Bay by Mr. Glidden, Mr. Tibbetts said the developer of that project had written to government about an interest in selling a piece of property in the development and then building the building as well.

Mark VanDevelde, the Chief Operations Officer for Dart Realty (Cayman) Ltd, the developers of Camana Bay, said he thought his development was an ideal location for the second project.

‘In the Camana Bay master plan, the parcels around the main roundabout have always been envisioned and reserved for civic uses such as a post office, fire station, library and other civic buildings,’ he said.

‘Camana Bay is conveniently and prominently located in the District of George Town, with multiple access points off the Esterley Tibbetts Highway.

Mr. VanDevelde said Dart Realty recognized the benefits of having one of the government buildings adjacent to Camana Bay and it therefore identified a suitable site and submitted a proposal to Government.

‘Our offer to Government, which we believe to be very attractive, recognizes this benefit and also acknowledges Government’s current budgetary constraints and the other very important capital projects they are addressing,’ he said.

Mr. VanDevelde, however, would neither confirm nor deny the report that Dart Realty had offered to donate the land to Government.

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