Chancery Lane Complex Article Grossly Misleading

Contact: Corporate Communications Unit, 627-0083

March 17, 2009

The Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago states that an article carried in a daily newspaper dated March 15, 2009 headlined “$732 million and counting,” regarding its Chancery Lane Project is grossly misleading.

The article in its first paragraph erroneously implies that a preliminary estimate of $100 million in 2004 for a design/build construction contract for the Chancery Lane Project, climbed to more than $732 million within a four year span.

This $100 million preliminary estimate for the cost of construction was given before any design was conceptualized, before proposals were invited from contractors and without benefit of consultation with industry experts. Furthermore, the estimate in no way factored, escalating steel, cement and other construction material costs which doubled, and in some instances quadrupled in a matter of months.

Based on Government’s requirements for the building and its emphasis on value for money, there was also a determination to maximize use of the Chancery Lane site, especially in light of the critically needed library, parking facilities and office and retail space in San Fernando.

Proposals were invited from suitably qualified contractors.

Johnston International Limited was awarded the construction contract for $296 million, based on its proposal, its design, construction experience, financial capability, litigation history and project organization.

Costs were incurred which increased the overall cost of the project include:

  • Dislocation expenses for the Blind Welfare, Red Cross and Vendors Mall to the tune of $4,417,125.00
  • Relocation of these parties to refurbished locations, which were enhanced and significantly improved when compared to their previous locations – $6,356,850.00
  • Extension of time and other claims by the contractor – $48,277,938.00
  • Relocation of Overhead T&TEC lines – $1,492,672.00
  • Construction of RMU (ring main unit) for T&TEC – $228,491.00
  • Additional excavation works – $82,291.00
  • After consultation with the business community additional parking was identified as a priority and the requisite parking facilities had to be accommodated at the Complex, resulting in the expansion of the car park at a cost of $65.5 million.
  • Fit out of the Chancery Lane Project is separate from the construction contract and has been budgeted at $127 million.
  • Interest costs have also incurred as the project is being privately financed.

The 300,000 sq. ft. Chancery Lane Complex will feature several commercial and family-friendly features including:

  • A 10-storey office tower, with rooftop atrium to accommodate functions;
  • Three storeys of retail space, which include shopping areas and a food court facility;
  • A 50,000 sq. ft., 2-storey public library;
  • Three storeys of public car parking facilities;
  • Facilities for the disabled, including access ramps and washrooms.

UDeCOTT is developing the structures that form part of the innovation for lasting
prosperity; the development plan of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago.