Glass House to be demolished by January

Glass House to be demolished by January

Contractors will demolish the Elgin Avenue landmark Glass House, home to government offices between 1974 and 2011, by early January, making way for a city park. 

The Ministry of District Administration and Works put the project out to tender this week, setting a Sept. 18 deadline for submissions, a start date of early October for demolition work and a completion date of Jan. 2016. 

Public Works Department Senior Project Manager Peter Widmer said costs are likely to run into “the hundreds of thousands” of dollars to demolish and clear the four-story, 35,000-square-foot building, which housed government departments and ministries until they moved to the nearby Government Administration Building in 2011. The Glass House had suffered irreparable structural damage during Hurricane Ivan in 2004. 

“It’s a little sad,” Mr. Widmer said of the destruction. “It’s a landmark and we’ve got to knock it down. We can’t salvage a lot, but maybe some of the materials can be recycled.” 

He pegged the entire Glass House site at between 1 and 2 acres, and said the contractor would have to erect fencing around the perimeter “to make it safe, as the first thing. You have to stop people from wandering in. 

“There will be a certain amount of ‘setup’ in there, and the contractor will want to have a small building of his own,” he said. 

Because of limited site space and proximity to its heavily used neighbors – the George Town Police Station and the Government Administration Building – the project must be carefully designed to be done in phases, he said. 

“We don’t have the luxury … for example, in the U.S., of simply blowing it up.” The building “is made of structural steel, and that would leave a great big mess, a pile” of twisted metal, he said. 

“If you’re careful and you take it apart, you can probably burn off the rivets and then reuse the steel,” Mr. Widmer said. “It will be a little shorter because you’ve cut off the ends, but it could be used in another building.” 

It could also be sold for scrap. Final disposal of the material, he said, will be determined by the contractor and the ministry. Its value will be an element in the project price submitted to the Central Tenders Committee. 

He said construction of a city park on the site would form a second and separate contract. He did not know when work might start or what the costs might be. 

“It depends on what you want to do and what funding is available,” Mr. Widmer said. 

The Glass House, former home of government ministries and departments, is set to be demolished. - PHOTO: TANEOS RAMSAY

The Glass House, former home of government ministries and departments, is set to be demolished. – PHOTO: CHRIS COURT


  1. A sad day indeed. Everywhere in the world governments are saving and restoring old significant buildings especially those of history. What would be wrong restoring it and making it into a museum? At least it could generate revenue. Take a look at the old tower building site. What an eye sore!!!

  2. I wonder if the government has looked at other options to tearing down this building , verses renovation to some other cause that is so important and needed in the the Islands. Let’s see, government will pay million dollars for a professional to take the building down, then a crane and a back hoe will take it down, then the dump would be 10 feet higher. Then government will say we need 30 million dollars for a new mental health building. God please help this government.

  3. I find is strange to get so many thumbs down to a simple question. Can I assume the thumbs down are from people who think it should have been torn down if so all I was asking is why it had to be torn down. Or could it be that the thumbs down are because the question came from driftwood whose opinion or curiosity really doesn’t matter.

  4. Yep the link isn’t working for me any longer as well unless you register, but is basically said the building was built wrong in the first place and was full of safety issues.

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