Seven contractors have been shortlisted in the bidding process for the Grenville Commercial Complex, while a location is being sought for vendors operating from a mall at the site.
This was revealed during Tuesday’s post Cabinet press briefing by Minister of Infrastructure Development, Public Utilities, Energy, Transport and Implementation Gregory Bowen. He said the complex will house all government revenue offices, an “anchor tenant” and other commercial space.
Prior to the coronavirus, there were 20-plus small businesses in the Grenville Vendors Mall. The number has varied since. For a daily fee of $1 collected by the Ministry of Infrastructure Development, vendors operate out of small booths in a narrow alleyway between Victoria and Ben Jones Streets; and are responsible for their own electricity bills.
Minister Bowen said the search is on for a temporary location, or perhaps a “quick wooden structure” to accommodate these businesses “for the time being.”
He said whether or not the new complex will facilitate the vendors “in a beautiful way” is being looked at in the design. However, the rent may be beyond the “financial capacity” of some vendors, so “a small area must be made for them and that is being given due consideration.”
The Grenadian Voice reported in its August 07, 2020 issue that the two main tenants of the new complex will be the Government of Grenada and the Grenada Co-operative Bank Limited. Co-op Bank Managing Director Richard Duncan told this newspaper that the bank will have much needed space on the main floor.
In 2019, under the Public Finance Management Act, the government invested $510,000 in the Grenville Commercial Complex Limited for 51% shares of stock. Duncan said the government owns 51% and the bank owns 49%.
Minister Bowen told reporters that government expects to recover its investment within 30 years.
The project encompasses the area where the former Revenue and Post Office building is located on the Victoria Street side and where the former St Andrew’s Community Library is located on the Ben Jones Street side. A fire in 2010 caused extensive damage to the two buildings.
The Grenada Postal Corporation (GPC) maintains private letter boxes at the location and owns the 2,631-square foot property, as per a 1998 Cabinet Conclusion.
Minister Bowen emphasized that it was state property Cabinet agreed to have transferred to the statutory body.
“One of the solutions is to have the Postal Corporation placed inside the building and looking at whether the lands will be factored in over a period of time” when determining rental terms for the GPC, he noted.