Construction on the MovieTowne complex at Turkeyen, will take two years, according to Chairman of Multi-Cinema Guyana Incorporated Derek Chin, who says the costs associated have swollen to US$35 million.
Chin told Stabroek News that currently the pile driving for the 60,000-square foot complex, which began since April of this year, is yet to be completed and is running behind schedule by at least a month.
Chin said that Vikab Engineering Consultants Ltd had reported that contractors such as BK International, who were hired out as contractors, have had difficulty due to the heavy rains in June and July. Chin said that he had seen the pictures and understands that the heavy rains have seriously halted the pile driving, but he was optimistic that by late November this first stage would be completed.
When Stabroek News visited the site last week, approximately 40% of the piles had been placed in the ground. Over 1,300 piles need to be driven before the ground can be built up. Chin said the ground will have to be built up by a few feet because of the location, which was confirmed by an engineer who also spoke to Stabroek News about the construction.
Chin said he was a bit disappointed that the pile driving was behind schedule, but “we have seen work being done. I have to give them the benefit of the doubt.” He noted that “Vikab is aware of the situation and you know time is money so we want to get the pile driving done…I don’t want to keep paying for one set of thing. We hope to be breaking ground in January.”
Chin said that by late 2015, MovieTowne will be fully operational and that the original 40,000 square foot complex, costing US$20 million which would contain six cinemas, had increased by 20,000 square feet and two more cinemas would be added. He revealed that by the end of October, the tendering process will officially begin for the project, however the design of the complex is yet to be finalised. He said there had been previous designs, but he was also awaiting another design before an official plan is drafted.
Chin told Stabroek News that the 30 acres of land was purchased for “US$1 million and some change,” from the Government of Guyana and that he was pleased with the price paid. He added that doing business in Guyana proved to be economically viable, saying that the land use policy made it worthwhile to foreign investors. “In a way, they may be giving a couple million, but they are gaining way more than that,” he said.
Chin did, however, state that while some things came easy, others were difficult. He said the reasoning behind hiring Vikab Engineering was because finding competent consultants in Guyana proved difficult, which he blamed on the bureaucratic process. He said he had worked with Vikab before and was made aware of its association with the construction of the International Convention Centre.
He said while there was no Guyanese contact for MovieTowne as yet, once construction begins in late January an office would be set up so on-the-ground monitoring of construction could be done.