Gov’t office deal reached

The Government recently signed a CI$85.5 agreement with McAlpine Ltd. to design and build the new Government Administration Building on Elgin Avenue.

The five-storey building will feature 185,000 square feet of air conditioned office accommodation; an underground parking structure; and a service deck. In total, there will be some 230,000 square feet involved with the construction.

The structure, which will be next to the Glass House Government Administration Building, will house in excess of 900 government employees and will have a projected life of 60 years.

As part of the agreement, McAlpine will demolish Glass House to make room for the parking required by the Planning Law. Furniture, fixtures and fittings, as well as some road improvements are also part of the agreement.

Because there was only one bidder on the project, the contract was only awarded after considerable negotiations between the parties involved.

Last March, the Central Tenders Committee gave approval for McAlpine to continue preparing a bid for the project despite the fact it was the sole bidder after two other pre-qualified bidders withdrew.

McAlpine is teamed with OBM Ltd. as the architects and interior designers.

The agreement signed on 24 December is legally binding, but the actual contract will not be signed until March 2008, said McAlpine Managing Director Ian Pairadeau.

The building will be constructed to resist hurricanes and earthquakes, and with the first floor at a level of 14.6 feet, it will also be highly resistant to flooding.

Originally, two side-by-side ‘twin towers’ were envisioned on the site to meet the government’s office accommodation needs.

However, when the PPM Government took office, it decided to construct the second building away from central George Town.

Before the site for the second building could be determined, the Government abandoned that project at least until 2009. Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts said last April the first GOAP project would be built larger than first anticipated, eliminating some of urgent need to have the second building constructed now.

The new Elgin Avenue building will accommodate 34 Government entities, including the Governor’s Office, all government ministries, the chief secretary’s office, the Portfolio of Finance, the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority and many others. There will also be a sub-post office in the building.

Last year, the Government had said it wanted the building completed by mid-2009; however the agreement signed with McAlpine calls for completion to occur within the next 36 months.