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Govt To Buy Shopping Centre For Post Office

By NATARIO McKENZIE

Tribune Business Reporter

nmckenzie@tribunemedia.net

THE Government is in the process of acquiring the Independence Drive Shopping Centre as the new location for the General Post Office, a Cabinet Minister confirmed yesterday.

Shane Gibson, minister of labour and national insurance, told Tribune Business: “We’re going to purchase the Independence Shopping Centre, the entire shopping centre. We are just working to have it refurbished and ready for staff to occupy it.

“I don’t want to give a timeline on when it will be ready until we purchase the building, but we are in the process now of purchasing the building. We have met with the owner.”

As to the purchase price, Mr Gibson said: “We’re negotiating that right now.”

The Independence Drive Shopping Centre has lacked a major anchor tenant since the now-defunct City Markets supermarket chain closed its location there four to five years ago.

The site, at the roundabout by the Town Centre Mall, will likely prove a welcome respite for

General Post Office employees, who for years have complained about poor working conditions that included mold, crumbling walls and a rodent infestation.

John Pinder, the Bahamas Public Service Union’s (BPSU) president, told Tribune Business that “we’re counting down the days” to the Post Office’s relocation, along with its 100 staff.

“The building is falling apart. It’s rat-infested in addition to mold, and malfunctioning water and air-conditioning systems,” he said of the current location.

“We know that the permanent secretary had advised us that they would be out in six months. That was some three weeks ago that he said that. We would not, under any circumstances after the expiration of that six months, encourage our members to go back in that environment.”

  Glenys Hanna Martin, minister of transport and aviation, who has responsibility for postal services, said the Government had spent months trying to locate a proper site for the General Post Office, having looked at several locations.

“The problem we encountered with the Post Office is that the nature of  the operations are so unique and specific it’s not like your regular office space,” she said.

“When we had issues with the falling concrete and that sort of thing, we got the Ministry of Works to go in there and to do remedial work, but there were also environmental issues. As a result we agreed that the staff would work reduced hours. There was an earnest effort to have them relocated but that proved more challenging that anticipated.”

Mrs Hanna Martin added: “We looked at numerous locations. We had looked at two locations on Bay Street, one of which had looked like it would be a good spot. The Post Office had thought so, and  so the Ministry of Works did the plans in accordance with the specifications of the Post Office.

“But when senior management saw it, they said it was too small, and at that point we had lost months on that process. We had looked at the Town Centre Mall and that took months. We had also looked at the building on the East-West Highway and that took almost a year.

“We’re now back to that location. What helped in the decision-making was the prudence of either using public funds to renovate at high cost and pay rent, or use comparable expenditure to acquire the building on the East-West Highway.”

Comments

Sickened 3 years, 6 months ago

So what are they going to do with the current post office - let it continue to slowly rot or tear it down? I vote for tearing it down and making a park with a small bus terminal and a small post office.

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sheeprunner12 3 years, 6 months ago

There is NO program in place to revive or remove old buildings in Nassau ......... look at what happened to the Royal Victoria Hotel .... and the Water Tower ..... and Collins House .... and now the generation of original Pindling public buildings (1967-73) ........ they are becoming dangerous eyesores to our communities ............ again, NO government planning

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Well_mudda_take_sic 3 years, 6 months ago

A very undesirable location from the stand point of exacerbating the traffic congestion that already exists in the area. But not an unexpected decision by our corrupt Christie-led PLP government given who the current owner is. Don't expect government to disclose the current owner or the outrageous price actually being paid.....most Bahamians would be both surprised and in an up roar! I would do so here if I did not fear naming the owner may possibly result in my inability to use my well recognised pseudonym going forward. In any event, investigative journalists at The Tribune can easily obtain this important additional informational if they put their mind to it.

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Greentea 3 years, 6 months ago

Since Flowers gaming occupies a substantial portion, my guess is that it is owned by said company. I have no problem with this. - if it's market value- tough to move real estate right now. But I like the location and prefer it to the town center mall which really needs to be demolished- along with the current post office building, the building that has been vacant at parliament st and Shirley street and the old Adderly building opposite Gucci on Bay Street. And truthfully half of Bay Street. It's a central location with parking - unlike the current one. Maybe the government can build a proper parliament, senate and registrar general facility where the current post office stands- something architecturally stunning- an international competition - not the crappy buildings the ministry of works comes up with. If Bahamians want to participate make sure they think big and creative and not like what happen with that COB library building- UGLY - no redeeming features except it's newer and better than that COB building on Poinciana drive.

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Reality_Check 3 years, 6 months ago

You are clearly one who thinks money grows on trees.....or that it's okay to tax hardworking honest Bahamians who are already struggling to make ends meet on a daily basis. Many have just given up and closed their small businesses adding to our country's outrageously high unemployment which is now well in excess of 30% no matter what the government, Central Bank or Dept of Statistics may want us to think.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 3 years, 6 months ago

Here's the big picture to what's actually happening here:

The Finlayson family and Thompson are hell bent on ensuring ownership of the Trinity property ends up in the hands of certain PLP muck-a-mucks who have been promised a fat juicy lease arrangement by the government (i.e. government - Post Office - to be the tenant) that will last for many years. This will leave not only the City Market pensioners jilted and royally screwed, but also all honest hard working Bahamian taxpayers. And to think the Supreme Court is expected to just rubber stamp the shenanigans going on here! Christie of course knows full well what's at play here.

Tribune reporters spend too much time waffling on when they should simply cut to the chase when reporting on matters like this.

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