Factories Corporation expansion projects to cost $20 billion
The demand for factory space has nearly doubled in less than two years, mainly from businesses seeking agro-processing, business process outsourcing, manufacturing and warehousing space.
Factories Corporation of Jamaica is now planning to add 132,075 square metres of space to fill demand estimated to year 2022, according to client services manager Sharon Phillips, who said it would take projected investments of $20 billion.
"We have seen demand moving from 66 per cent to 88 per cent for our small industrial and commercial complexes. We expect occupancy overall to move from 87 per cent to 94 per cent before year end," Phillips said.
Between January and August, the FCJ leased 93,642 square metres of space to new clients. For all of 2016, the agency leased 123,847 square metres. One square metre is the equivalent of 10.76 square feet.
The client services manager said that while the upswing in demand has allowed the corporation to put its current buildings into operation, it would need more space in three to five years to keep up with the needs of businesses.
The planned expansions include 750,000 square feet of space at the Naggo Head Technology Park, in Portmore, St Catherine; 365,000 square feet of space at the Morant Bay Urban Centre in St Thomas and 300,000 square feet of space as part of the redevelopment of the Garmex Freezone and Industrial Complex in Kingston - all costed at $20.2 billion.
Moreover, Phillips added, the "FCJ is now aggressively looking to utilise some of its existing properties with green spaces to build out to meet the demand."
Its financing strategies include the possibility of joint venture partnerships with some of its clients to meet their demands for space, she said, as well as other public-private partnerships.
The FCJ has 157,019.29 square metres in its portfolio of properties, some 19,602.36 square metres or 12 per cent of which is available for rental. Currently, space is available in Kingston, St James, Clarendon and Hanover, Phillips said.
The agency is currently in negotiation for rental of 6,505.58 square metres of the available space, a transaction it expects to wrap up "within the next two months," the manager said.
FCJ rental rates vary from location to location, but ranges from $90 to $622 per square metre per annum. The agency also charges a maintenance fee ranging from $12.08 to $381.09 per square metre per annum.