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Advantage General seeking tenants

Published:Friday | May 4, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Abandoned by several tenants who have taken up space in the more popular Fairview Shopping Centre at the other side of town, Advantage General Insurance Company Limited has put 22,959 square feet of office space on the rental market.

The space is available at Advantage General's Montego Bay branch on Market Street, which is close to the congested heart of the city.

"It was fully rented previous to last year, but some companies such as NEM and Guardian Life have moved into their owned space," said Major Kenneth Neil, property manager for Advantage General.

"With the new shopping centre, some companies have also moved there," he said.

NEM Insurance, a subsidiary of Jamaica National Building Society, joined other JNBS operations at a full-service financial services centre established by the mortgage bank at Fairview on the western end of town, which has been transformed into the main centre of commerce in Montego Bay over the past decade.

Major Neil also acknowledged that Advantage General may have lost its tenants because of limited parking space as well as high maintenance cost for the property, which is priced at J$1,100 per square foot per annum.

The six-story building has about 80 parking spaces.

The vacant space is currently being advertised, but Neil says Advantage General has already secured business for 50 per cent of the space, and is seeing strong interest in the other vacancies.

"We have a call centre that has already expressed interest and another is calling," he said.

Of the six floors, Advantage General has advertised space on three floors - ranging from 300 square feet to 4,292 square feet for rent along with an annex.

The insurance company also has put an additional 816 square feet of space at its May Pen location for rent.

Advantage General, which is majority owned by Michael Lee-Chin, has been operating in the insurance market since 1964. It was previously known as UGI Insurance but rebranded after Lee Chin acquired the operation from Neville Blythe.

The general insurance company, which is headquartered in New Kingston, controlled 16 per cent of the market at last estimate in June 2011. It has a customer base of more than 100,000 clients and a national network of 11 branches.

On balance sheet its property, plant and equipment asset totalled $350 billion.

The company is planning to go public through an initial offering to raise J$500 to J$600 million on the Jamaica Stock Exchange.