Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Waterfront Update

This update (see below my comments) came my way as a comment on my blog in the closing hours of last year and is reprinted below.

My own fear with the Waterfront comes with the picture from the Masterplan shown above. No one has ever rescinded this piece of nonsense which I blogged about it in March 2010:


Back in 2008, the proposition for the development noted that:

"The estimated long-term annual cost of maintaining and servicing the tunnel is £500,000 per annum. This cost consists of 2 main elements: (i) the cost of electricity to power lighting and ventilation; and (ii) the cost of maintaining the fabric of the tunnel (including maintenance and replacement of ventilation plant, lighting, signage, cleaning and maintaining the roadway). "

These were the figures in 2008 for maintenance, and goodness knows how much they have risen since! What is certain is that costs are not fixed, and the maintenance costs will rise, year after year, and in a time when every department is being asked to make savings, to burden the future of the Island with this kind of rising cost seems incredibly shortsighted.

What is more this was first on the agenda for the scheme and noted that:

"Sinking the main road is a significant project taking 2-3 years. Traffic management measures during construction will include a temporary dual carriageway through the existing Esplanade Square car park."

That's the car park now being developed with buildings on it!!

It also notes that "When the work is finished, a replacement public car park will be provided underground." Any site of that in plans for Planning?

My best new year resolution from the States or Mr Lee Henry (or both) would be the news that this dangerous and costly part of the scheme has been definitely and conclusively dropped. We cannot afford a sunken road. It was a lunatic scheme when the economy was buoyant; now it would be millstone around generations to come.

Waterfront Update
By John Baker - Vice Chair - St Helier Waterfront Action Group

The cost of Planning the JIFC - Our estimate for the WHOLE planning process for each building including all Architects and Structural Engineers fees is a realistic figure of some 8% of the building costs.

In the case of the JIFC the build cost per sq ft for a AA Office space is £300 so for example a 67,000 sq ft building basic cost would be £20,100,000 then add some for the basement parking and contribution for exterior works that would come up to approx £25million total. (Note:- I use figures to show the example in the case of building 4) so 8% of that is in fact just £2.million –

The wool is being pulled over everyone's eyes by Lee Henry identifying the £100,000 as a "planning" figure It is not, it is simply the fee for submitting the plans to the Planning and Building Services of the Department of the Environment. In fact the above figures do not allow for other professional fees - Lawyers, Surveys, Consultations, Appeals etc. etc. which would have to be paid prior to work starting on any building.

On a project of this scale this would add another 2% minimum to the above so in fact pre-build costs for each building could easily reach £2.5million. So for the 6 buildings that comprise the JIFC this would easily total some £15Million.

We trust that puts the record straight on this.

UPDATE - On 30th December 2016 Lee Henry put plans in for Building 6 JIFC, which is the plot to the immediate West of Building 5. This despite the fact that Steve Luce, bowing to pressure from us and many States members has finally agreed to REVIEW the Esplanade Quarter Masterplan.

Also despite the fact that Lee Henry still has 40% of building 4 and 50% of building 5 still without prelets. Would any normal person think of building yet another huge office block when they have struggled to fill the first 2 and have had to bribe Sanne with (allegedly) £4million worth of incentives to get them to sign the 50% prelet to building 5 to get it started? (see WAGs FB page for details on this)

Note:-It is normal in the private sector to only proceed with such developments when there is at least a 60% to 70% of pre-lets in place as Dandara did with Gaspe House the RBC building next to the Grand Hotel. Building 4 was started with only 25% let to UBS bank.

So Lee Henry has started the process of committing ANOTHER £2.5million of effectively Public funds to a building which possibly either because of a rethink by the States of the Master plan or because of a lack of demand may in fact never be built.

The incompetence shown by the current Board is staggering and we were not surprised to hear that non executive director Roger Lewis had managed to quietly resign.

1 comment:

James said...

One point where I think you are mistaken. In 2008 the idea of using low-powered LED bulbs for road lighting was (forgive pun) only a twinkle in someone's eye. The new lighting up Mont Millais and through St Aubin, amongst other places, is considerably cheaper to run and requires substantially less maintenance.