Tue | Aug 21, 2018

GraceKennedy HQ qualifies for urban tax incentive

Published:Friday | December 1, 2017 | 12:00 AMAvia Collinder
Graphic design of the GraceKennedy headquarters and commercial complex being developed at Lot 21 Harbour Street, Kingston.

​Group CEO Don Wehby says GraceKennedy Limited is on track to complete its new headquarters in 2018, despite minor delays in the construction process.

Wehby said some of the delays were weather-related, but he was upbeat about the project, which recently qualified for tax incentives under the Urban Renewal Programme.

"We were advised by a letter, dated October 18, from the UDC that they would be recommending approval of the Urban Renewal Tax benefit to the TAJ for signing by the Ministry of Finance," he said. "We intend to use all the benefits as stated in the Urban Renewal Act for our downtown Kingston development."

Asked what implications the incentives had for financing of the project, Wehby said such information was confidential, even while noting that the conglomerate already had all the financing in hand for the HQ.

The incentive programme, managed by the Urban Development Corporation, provides tax relief to companies or individuals undertaking capital investments in either land or buildings in areas affected by urban blight or other special development areas.

Tax incentives are offered to both owners and lessees of property, either in the form of Urban Renewal Bonds, investment tax credit, tax-free rental income or exemption from transfer tax.

Wehby said HQ development at Lot 21 Harbour Street - a US$25-million investment - remains on target for completion before the end of 2018.

"We have had some minor delays because of the current weather condition and an issue with the traffic flow and the pouring of cement. However, we are very happy with the progress we have made so far," the GK boss said.

As proposed when the project was rolled out this year, the complex being constructed near the Kingston waterfront will become the new home for the group's corporate head office and its GK Money Services subsidiary.

The building will span 10 floors, including a 100,000-square-foot parking garage. Some 6,000 square feet of space is designated for office rental.

Preparatory work began at the site in February 2016, but construction was launched on March 1 of this year by contractor China Sinopharm International Corporation.

It was initially reported that the project would have been wrapped up by mid-2018. The expected completion date is now November 2018.