With works on the US$100M expansion of the Pegasus Hotel forging ahead, Business Minister Dominic Gaskin believes the venture will inspire interest from foreign investors and spike competition within the local industry.
“As a government, we have been encouraging our local businesses to invest and we have been trying to attract foreign investments in Guyana. This is a show of confidence by a local investor and we would like this to be an example for other local investors,” Gaskin on Friday told reporters.
On Friday, proprietor Robert Badal facilitated a tour of the site and gave an update on works being undertaken. The project is expected to be completed by December 2020, with works having commenced in January. Three hundred employees will execute the works with 60% of that workforce made up of locals.
Gaskin said that while he attended the facility’s launch and sod-turning events, he wanted to visit the site to see for himself how works were coming along.
“I’m very impressed and very excited. As you know, this is the largest investment project by a local business in Guyana, that in itself is impressive. I was happy to be at the launch and turning of the sod, now to see it materialize. I am learning that the technology being used is new to Guyana how they are casting the piles in. Things are happening very quickly in Guyana due to the discovery of oil and there is a lot of business interest in Guyana and therefore this kind of project, with the kind of accommodation, will be very relevant going forward,” he said.
The hotel owner’s vision for the remodeling of the three-acre area, located behind his current hotel at Kingston, is to have a seven-storey, state-of-the-art corporate office complex adjacent to a fifteen-storey tower offering luxury residential accommodation. These buildings will be accommodated on the north-eastern part of the property.
Connecting the two buildings will be a state-of-the-art conference centre that Badal said will make the Arthur Chung Convention Centre “look outdated”.
He has said that the entire complex will offer the most innovative, mixed-use facilities on par with any first world facility of the same nature but with complementary food and entertainment facilities currently offered by the Pegasus Hotel.
Facilitated through financing by Republic Bank, with the China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) executing construction works, the facilities will also be equipped with the latest building management systems and a curtain wall providing floor to ceiling views of the Atlantic Ocean and the city of Georgetown’s skyline.
And beginning a transition towards green energy, an initiative which he firmly advocates and believes in, Badal said that the facility will have on top of the roof a 30,000 square feet solar panel system to power it.
Beaming with pride, Badal gave an insight into his investment and his choice of China Harbour to undertake the works, “I am inspired by what these guys did before when I took over the Pegasus, even though I had to refurbish the hotel. This is my contribution in expanding what we offer here. What we will offer here, is we will have offices and a kind of business tourism. Oil businesses now have businesses located in Trinidad so some of them will move because they will find it more competitive and closer to their operation. That will bring a lot of people and will promote the hotel…,” he said.
Government, according to Badal, stands to gain a lot monetarily as hundreds of millions will go into taxes during and after completion of the project. He explained that with the company using state-of-the-art building and construction techniques, local students of the University of Guyana and employees of City Hall could learn a lot from the construction company. He said that both City Hall and the University of Guyana have expressed interest in having their employees and students, respectively, being given onsite exposure.
“When it is completed, it will create full-time employment for about 80 persons. Government will get more than US$3 million in taxes during construction, as a result of PAYE, from suppliers and taxes from bank interest. After this is completed, the state will receive more than US$4 million a year in taxes. That, added to the fact that first world building technologies is coming to the country, this is a first world Grade A building, this will set the standard going forward,” he said.