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CEAC may look beyond BPO for commercial tenants

Published:Sunday | December 20, 2020 | 12:15 AMKarena Bennett - Business Reporter
A graphic design of the building being developed at Ferry by CEAC Outsourcing.
A graphic design of the building being developed at Ferry by CEAC Outsourcing.

CEAC Outsourcing Com­pany, a labour recruitment firm that added construction to its operations last year, has completed about 90 per cent of the building it is developing at the Kingston 876 commercial complex located at Ferry, Kingston.

However, plans for the US$5 million four-story building, which CEAC originally earmarked for a client in the growing business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry might be changing, as a result of new work arrangements adopted by employers since the onset of COVID-19 in Jamaica.

Some 30 per cent of Jamaica’s BPO workforce was shifted to ‘work from home’ or remote work arrangements following the outbreak of COVID-19 in the St Catherine-based call centre, Alorica, which later triggered a lockdown of the parish.

Business Development Manager of CEAC Howard Coxe says the company is still prioritising a call centre client for the 60,000-square-foot building, which sits at Lot 31 in the Kingston 876 commercial complex, but is also weighing its alternatives.

“We hope to have the building completed by March and so right now we are focusing on finding a client to lease the building. But if we are unable to find a suitable client in the BPO sector by that time, then we won’t rule out looking at clients in other sectors,” Coxe told the Financial Gleaner.

CEAC, which will lease the property under the trading name International Business Spaces, has been in search of a client that provides employment for at least 2,000 individuals, a scope that befits operators within the BPO industry.

The facility, which has financial backing from the Development Bank of Jamaica, is outfitted with amenities such as a basketball court, water-storage tanks holding 35,600 gallons or three-days’ supply of water, and parking space for 60 cars.

CEAC is pitching the overpass that connects the development to the Mandela Highway as a drawing card for prospective clients to the location.

The company’s next real estate project, once its done with the Ferry building and has a tenant ensconced there, will be the ‘Aqueduct of the Vineyards’, a residential development it is working on at Bushy Park, St Catherine. CEAC has already received municipal council approval for the 8.42-acre housing project to be executed through its housing development arm, Smart Homes.

The Aqueduct complex is designed to include 52 two-bedroom, one-bathroom units ­in a ‘green’ community. Property owners can choose between 4,000 to 5,500 square feet lots and also have the option of installing solar panels and electric vehicle charging stations in their homes.

CEAC will invest US$6.5 million ($942 million) in the residential complex. It estimates the units will sell for about $17 million each.