BUS MON: Construction to be major feature of economy this year
The years 2016-2017 saw major construction activity taking place in Barbados. Now it appears that that period will be matched or even surpassed by a similar building boom, costing close to a billion dollars, based on comments coming from the Government and the private sector. A major private sector construction project at Kendall Hill. Christ Church, has started what appears will be the boom in Barbados this year.
The project which is being undertaken by Massy Holdings Limited, started late last year with infrastructural works being undertaken. Roads have been paved and there is the likelihood that work on the building/buildings should commence soon. In recent weeks both Government and the private sector have announced that construction will be a major feature of the economy this year as attempts continue to boost economic growth in Barbados.
Apart from that at Kendall Hill, other projects currently on include one at Rockley, Christ Church and another at Haggatt Hall, St. Michael, both of which also started last year. Quite recently officials of the Sagicor Financial Corporation announced that they intend to start either this month or at least later in the first quarter of 2019 working on a Retirement Village project at Boarded Hall, St. George. That along with another planned for later will cost about Bds$400 million which are seen as a big thrust into construction activity. They said that this is part of the confidence which is gradually returning to the economy.
Preparation for the Ross University’s operations in Barbados entailed some building activity at Coverley, Christ Church, where students will be based. Government for its part said it will be constructing a new headquarters for the Barbados Port Authority which is also scheduled to commence this year, and capital expenditure to be announced in the Estimates of Revenue and expenditure being put together. The construction of a Sandals Hotel on the site of the previous Almond Village this year as well will also give more depth to the sector, assuming all of the programmes announced will be undertaken in a full calendar year.
Last September the Central Bank of Barbados reported that output in the construction sector was estimated to have declined significantly as there were no largescale private sector projects to replace a major hotel project that was completed in 2017. In addition, it said that public sector infrastructural develop-ment also declined in the context of Government’s financing constraints and the consequent reduction in capital expenditure.
During 2017 Construction activity in Barbados increased by 6.3 per cent which the Bank said at the time was the result of new investment in tourism and commercial properties.
Those projects include the Sandals Hotel at Maxwell, Christ Church, a new office complex at Haggatt Hall, at Lower Estate, the Maria Holder School (at Rock Hall, St. Philip) and the Barbados Water Authority new headquarters.
That robust activity in the sector over the last two years also captured government spurred projects like new Police stations, the building of a facility opposite the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, the Constitution River Terminal for the privately owned Public Service Vehicles (PSVs), and work done in Bridgetown opposite the Jewish Synagogue.