Thursday 1st November, 2007


Trade Ministry’s $7 million rent bill

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Issa Nicholas

Ministry of Trade has agreed to pay property developer Issa Nicholas about $7 million a year to rent six floors of the Nicholas Tower in downtown Port-of-Spain, informed sources said this week.

One week ago, the Ministry of Trade began moving from its offices at the State-owned Riverside Plaza in East Port-of-Spain to the more centrally-located Nicholas Tower. The move is expected to be completed next week.

Each of the six floors is estimated to have 6,500 square feet of lettable area; 39,000 square feet in all. Nicholas’ property development company is charging the Ministry of Trade about $15 a square foot; a rental fee of $12 a square foot and a service charge of about $3.

That means that the Ministry of Trade will pay the property development company owned by Nicholas an estimated $585,000 a month or an annual fee of just over $7 million a year.

The Ministry of Trade joins the Union Club, the T&T Stock Exchange, a Clico agency and Flow at the Nicholas Tower. Also in the building are offices of Caribbean Airlines, Delta and Continental Airlines.

Sources said this week that it was unusual for a government department to move out of a state-owned building to a privately-owned one.

The Government has embarked on an ambitious programme of construction of buildings in Port-of-Spain’s central business district.

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