Builders will move on to the Jersey International Finance Centre site in less than a fortnight.
Days after a protest saw almost 2,000 gather at the site and with a major Scrutiny report due in weeks, the developers have confirmed that work on the first of six offices – a six-storey, 67,000 sq-ft block which will be partially occupied by Swiss bank UBS – is due to begin on or around 22 June, when the site is handed over to contractor Camerons.
The organisers of Sunday's protest, led by former St Brelade Deputy Sean Power, are calling for the start of building to be delayed until a Scrutiny panel of States backbenchers produces a report into the financial arrangements underpinning the development.
But at a hearing of that Corporate Services panel on Monday, Jersey Development Company Managing Director Lee Henry – who leads the States-owned quango that develops public property – said that JDC would hand over the first building’s plot, which is in the corner of the Esplanade car park closest to Castle Street, on Monday 22 June and UBS would be working in the building by the end of February 2017.
“We signed a construction agreement with contractor Camerons on 29 May, shortly after we had signed a pre-let agreement with UBS,” Mr Henry told the panel, which is chaired by St Lawrence Deputy John Le Fondré. “This phase includes the six-storey block, ramp access to basement parking, a public space around the building and temporary public parking to the south-west of the site.”
UBS has agreed to lease 16,350 sq ft, roughly a quarter, of the first block (rather confusingly referred to as ‘Building 4’) and have an option to lease another 7,000 sq-ft. Another company has signed a binding ‘heads of terms’ agreement to rent 5,000 sq-ft.
JDC say that 13 Jersey-based businesses have expressed an interest to move into the JIFC. If interest translates to firm agreements, 330,000 sq-ft will be leased over the next five years. JDC say that development will generate £50m of profit for the States over the next decade.
A proposition by St Brelade Deputy Montfort Tadier to hold an Island-wide referendum on the finance centre is due to be debated on Tuesday 16 June.
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