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Spectrum regulator buys downtown property

Published:Friday | February 19, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Prime Minister
Bruce Golding's office is setting an example, which the head of government has already stated he wants others to follow, with the relocation of the Spectrum Management Authority from its swanky uptown location to more moderate accommodation in downtown Kingston.

The move by the regulator and manager of the country's radio frequency spectrum, an agency of the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), is expected to save the Government $2 million a month in rental and maintenance, and runs counter to the recently announced decision by Investment and Commerce Minister Karl Samuda to move the offices of the Factories Corporation of Jamaica from downtown to New Kingston, ostensibly saving $1 million a year in the process.

Deborah Newland, acting managing director of the authority, told the
Financial Gleaner
that the agency relocated to its new Harbour Street property in December from its previous rented location at the Life of Jamaica building, 63 Knutsford Boulevard, New Kingston. Newland would not say how much was being paid in rental.

Last week, the agency moved into the premises, where it is now its own landlord having bought the 10,000-square foot property from the West Indies Home Contractors (WIHCON) group, which had utilised the premises to house the offices for one of its subsidiaries.

Newland was tight-lipped on the purchase price but real estate, industry sources say the property would have fetched between $60 million and $70 million.

"Our clients are more com-fortable because where we were we had to rent parking space," she said.

The new property is said to have about 40 parking spaces and houses the 38 staff more com-fortably than the usually high-priced New Kingston address.

Renovating additional space

The authority now occupies 7,500 square foot of the 10,000 square foot space, with plans afoot to renovate the additional space.

"Spectrum Management Authority is completely in support of the move (of more entities) to downtown Kingston and we are looking forward to seeing the plan for the redevelopment of the city become a reality," said Newland.

A statement from the OPM said the decision of the Spectrum Management Authority to relocate supports the prime minister's 2007 mandate that public-sector entities should pursue moving corporate offices into the city centre.

Telecoms firm Digicel is expected to start construction of its new corporate offices on Harbour Street, downtown, this year.

GraceKennedy, the Jamaica Stock Exchange, WIHCON and Kingston Ice Making Company are among the corporate entities already based in the area.