In T&T: 2 firms land Invaders Bay deal

3 August 2012


Big plans ahead as “cruise ship complex could be included…at Invaders Bay” along with “themed spaces reflective of the country.”

Two local companies—Invaders Bay Marine Ltd and Da Chin Commercial Development Ltd have been given the nod by Cabinet for their proposals to develop the Invaders Bay area.

Minister of Planning and Sustainable Development Dr Bhoe Tewarie yesterday announced that Cabinet had directed that negotiations begin with the two companies.

Speaking at the weekly post-Cabinet weekly briefing held at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s, he said the negotiations with Invaders Bay Marine Ltd would determine how a cruise ship complex could be included in the overall development at Invaders Bay.

Negotiations will include discussions of possible public/private partnership with government’s commitment to lower risk elements. Government’s risk was a major consideration in the private sector driven projects.

Negotiations would also begin with Da Chin to determine the company’s interest in leasing a smaller area for the “Streets of the World development” at market commercial lease rates.

With two investors in the development of Invaders’ Bay, Tewarie said a significant portion of the land was still open for commercialisation. Cabinet agreed that a new request for proposal (RFP) go out for the remaining land available for development.

He said, “if these things come to fruition, construction will begin while new RFPs are put out for other investors to stake their proposal, or make their claim for the land available.”

In August, 2011, the Ministry of Planning put out a RFP for interested parties to outline plans for developing 70 acres south of MovieTowne.

Providing background to the Invaders Bay Development Project, Tewarie said files at the ministry on developing Invaders Bay date back to 2005, and at that time a decision taken to request proposals for Invaders’ Bay, but it was not executed.

On the basis of the RFP and 31 criteria identified by the Ministry, ten proposals were received. This was shortlisted to three which were considered by Cabinet.

The proposals were referred to an interdisciplinary review team committee comprising ministers and members of other institutions.

It was headed by Dax Driver, head of the Energy Chamber. A full “due dilligence” was done by PriceWaterhouse Cooper on the three companies, and on the basis of a report the two investors were recommended for negotiations of terms.

Chairman of Da Chin Enterprises and Multicinemas Limited; MovieTowne’s parent company, Derek Chin, yesterday welcomed the news that Cabinet has agreed to enter into negotiations with him on his ‘Streets of the World’ project.

“I’m very happy to hear that. It’s very good news indeed for us, since we’ve been working on this project since 2006. Originally called the Gateway Project, I re-christened it Streets of the World in 2010, because the plan is to build themed spaces reflective of the country.

We would have Indian Street, African Street, Chinese Street, Syrian-Lebanese Street, Fashion Street and so on to showcase our cultural heritage, and facilitate people’s love of shopping,” Chin said.

At the time of his interview with Newsday yesterday afternoon, the entrepreneur had not yet received official word from Government about Cabinet’s decision. However Chin expected to get confirmation of the news today, and said after approximately six years of planning, “the real work now starts.”

When Chin sits down to negotiate with Government, he said chief among the issues to be determined would be the type of Public-Private Partnership being considered, how much land would be leased to his company, and for how many years, as well as deciding who would bear the cost of infrastructure installation – drainage, sewerage, roads, electricity, and roads.

The entrepreneur also told Newsday he was open to working with others who may have a similar vision, to make ‘Streets of the World’ a reality as soon as possible.

“I submitted plans for use of 38 acres of undeveloped land but if someone has an idea similar to some aspect of the project, a bowling alley for example, I would be willing to work with them.

But the whole project has to be done in one go, I don’t want to build anything in a piecemeal fashion,” he added.

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