Saturday, April 20, 2024

Warrens still in demand


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If you thought the building boom in Warrens and its environs was fading, think again.
Already the location of several office, industrial and commercial properties occupied by some of the island’s leading businesses and various agencies, the popular St Michael district is now earmarked for at least three more office buildings and a retail or warehouse building – all to be located on 8.6 acres of land now being sold for $30 million.
And with four of the island’s leading real estate companies now trying to find a buyer for the above property located opposite CIBC FirstCaribbean International’s headquarters, BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY also learnt the island’s newest movie theatre – an “eight screen cineplex” – would be part of the new mall nearing completion at nearby Welches, St Thomas.
Owner of Ron Karp Realty, Ron Karp, confirmed his company was among the group trying to sell the Warrens land, which is located adjacent to the ABC Highway.
“We have had a few calls on it . . . . It has been approved for commercial development,” he said, calling it one of the largest, if not largest, remaining plots of land of that type in the area.
Karp said while the economic recession had negatively affected the real estate sector, enquiries about commercial space in Warrens continued, noting the district “tells its own success story – you just have to drive through and see everything that is taking place there”.
An offer document for the land stated: “This is the first piece of land that will be visible when heading West on the ABC Highway. This is a developer’s dream . . . . Planning permission has been granted to erect four commercial buildings, three office buildings and one retail/warehouse building on the site.”
Acting Deputy Chief Town Planner George Browne told BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY that the the Town and Country Development Planning Office continued to receive applications for building in Warrens, which he pointed out was identified in the Physical Development Plan as “a regional centre”.
“As long as an application is submitted and it meets the planning requirements then permission can be granted. We receive applications for various types of developments and depending on the type of application, if it fits in with what is allocated in the land use for the area, then a decision would be made. We receive applications for all types of developments ranging from office to industrial, commercial,” he said.
“An application is valid for five years, so someone might have had a permission four years ago and they might now be starting work. You will see office developments concentrated in one area and then there is the industrial area, and then there is the area where you will see the commercial developments.”
Terra Caribbean chief executive Andrew Mallalieu said demand for commercial real estate was generally “flat”, but he noted that Warrens “is interesting for entities looking to upgrade to the new area or a new building”.
But he added that “Warrens is congested and some offshore companies are preferring the south coast, Wildey [and] Collymore Rock”.
That said, Mallalieu called demand at the new Welches Mall “good” and said the complex was scheduled to open “before Christmas”, with the cinemas there to be operating in the first quarter of next year.
One man certain that Warrens would sustain and increase its popularity as a business area was prominent businessman Ralph “Bizzy” Williams. He has several businesses in the area, recently opened a new office complex that is already home to two “offshore banks” and is looking to attract a third.
“Warrens is going to become the business centre of Barbados, there is no question about that. I don’t have any doubts about the fact that more and more businesses are going to move into Warrens and it is approaching the point where it is the place to do business in Barbados. It is the place where most offshore companies and so on will want to be,” he said.
“It always seemed obvious to us that is what would happen because the highway from the airport to the seaport passes right next to Warrens so it seemed a slam dunk that Warrens would become what it has become and it would be better for business,” Williams added.

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