Progressive Liberal Party Responds to
FNM Long Promised Signing of New Straw Market Contract December 17th 2009
Hubert Ingraham FNM Government yesterday signed an $11.2 Million Contract with Cavalier Construction Company for a one storey Straw Market which the Government boldly told Bahamians would cost $10 Million and not a penny more. One gets dizzy with the many statements by FNM Ministers as to why the contract by the PLP was cancelled. PM Ingraham said the Contractor did not have the experience to execute the contract yet the same Contractor is heavily involved in the $400 million dollar expansion at LPIA. The Contractor was not qualified in 2007 and suddenly became qualified in 2009. Then Minister Earl Deveaux said it was the wrong location and wanted vendors to relocate to an aborted location on Prince George Dock etc and etc.
The Government lamented on the cost of the Straw Market under the PLP as being too expensive. The Progressive Liberal Party charges the FNM Government with over expenditure for a warehouse – open plan type structure which they intend to layout furnishings for the vendors at a ridiculous cost of $ 305.00 per square foot. The cost is 2.5 times higher than the project cost under the PLP. See Chart below.
Straw Market Development
Govt. Administration PLP FNM
Cost $ 23M $11.29M
Size 180,000 Sq Ft. 37,000 Sq Ft.
Site Area 57,722 Sq Ft. Efficiency 64 % 311% (3 levels)
Tendered Construction Cost / Square Ft. $ 130.00 / Sq Ft. $ 305.00.00/ Sq Ft.
Occupancy Vendors 600+ 442
Restaurant 200 –
Cultural Review 200 –
Other 40 –
(Projected) Vendors ($75/Week) $ 540,000.00 $ 360,000.00 Other $ 1.7M (@ 60%)* $ Nil .
* After Service & Maintenance Costs
Site Development Value
Further the design is an insult to the historical importance of the site and an insult to its value. Real Estate professionals should acknowledge that the site is being underdeveloped based on its worth.
Sale of this property including the value of its infrastructure, the foundation and general services suggests that the site is worth in sale $6-7 Million dollars. It is a measure of thumb that any development investment that is not four times the worth of the site value or purchase is a gross abuse of the site value is considered underdevelopment.
For a site that is the one last of its kind, waterfront etc. on Down Town Bay Street that is held in the public domain, and will not provide any returns is surely an abuse of the public asset.
The expected sum that the vendors will have to pay to at least maintain the facility will exceed the proposed sum under the PLP at $75.00 per month or there will be a cost required by the people to assist with its annual costs.
The Bid by Cavalier Construction is also interesting. In the previous tender under the PLP their Bid was in the area of $ 37Million suggesting a cost of $ 205.00 per square foot which bid was rejected based on the selected bid of Wosely Dominion Construction @ $ 120.00 per square foot.
Today Cavalier’s Bid has gone up $ 100.00 per square foot for a described open plan with no internal structure for a building described as an open plan which is no more that a steel framed structure that is five (5) times smaller than the previous design.
The FNM Government had told the Bahamian People that they would build a Straw Market at a cost of $ 10 Million and not a penny more. Immediately the FNM Government was advised that it could not be done. However to meet this end and premature statements they caused a revision of the design with an Architect who placed next to last in the National competition that the FNM Government first set up in 2001.
To meet this political end, the original design was drastically revised and the final product was indifferent to the scope of the previous plan that was programmed by a great number of persons. The reduced scope to meet this political end is as follows based on the recent tender:
Size was reduced
Vendor numbers reduced
Design Efficiency and Character reduced
Part II will deal with the cost to the Tax Payers for various Professional Fees and the repairs to the Tent and the pain and suffering inflicted on vendors who would have been occupying The Straw Market more than eighteen months ago if the FNM had not cancelled the legally executed contract by the PLP government for a project expertly considered by all relevant stake holders.