Last month, we showed you Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley promising that finally after an extended delay, the renovation works on the Commercial Center was finally starting.
It's been a long wait, from April of 2015 to be exact, and today, the Mayor said that the contractors have already started the construction work:
Darrell Bradley - Mayor, Belize City Council
"Actually, I am to go to a meeting right now, which is at 2 o'clock, which is - of course, I will be late for that meeting, but that's a meeting with the independent engineer, the engineers on the project, and our technical side. The timeline for the project is 10 months, beginning December. The interior of the building will be worked on first. So that there will a total gutting of the interior, and then renovation of the interior, including a plumbing, electrical, bathrooms, everything - closing up the floor, and remodeling the building. So that, the top floor and the second floor will be the new City Hall, and the ground floor will be occupy 14 commercial spaces. It will also occupy a large hall so that we will have public meetings in there. So, usually, when we have public meetings, we go to parks, we have to rent space. You will actually be able to have public meetings now, at City Hall itself. We are going to locate a series of what we consider first hand services on the ground floor, like planning permits, traffic services, and so forth, and our payment services."
"It's roughly about 3.5 million dollars, including sales tax. In terms of affording it, the council has an existing facility at Heritage Bank, and what we did is that we renegotiated that facility. Currently, we pay $20,000 per month on that facility. And we will continue to pay $20,000 until 2019, a date in 2019. So, actually what we did is that we just re-structured that facility. So, doing this project, while we are going to have the building right now, will not entail the council paying any more on that existing facility. We're stretching it out, and we're keeping the same interest rates. They reason why we asked for that grace period to 2019 is because we are still paying on several judgement debts that I inherited as mayor. So, we're still paying some monies to BML. We're still paying some monies to - I believe SEL, and we're still paying monies on judgement to an individual by the name of Ramclam. Those 3 payments amount to about $90,000 per month. When we finish all of those payments, we're going to finish all of those payments by this date in 2019, then we will devote more of a payment towards paying off this 3.5 million dollar loan."
The mayor has committed to take us on a tour some time next week to see how the construction is going.