Fri | Feb 22, 2019

GraceKennedy staff to move into new HQ in February

Published:Sunday | January 20, 2019 | 12:00 AM

Don Wehby, group chief executive officer of GraceKennedy, the food and financial services conglomerate, says that staff from its various divisions will begin moving into their new home at Harbour Street, downtown Kingston, by the end of February.

The new headquarters will bring together the group's executive office, the financial services division, and the money services group, which comprises Western Union, Bill Express, and FX Trader.

The building spans 10 floors, covering 192,000 square feet, facilitating offices, a boardroom, training facilities, retail space, a gymnasium, an innovation lab, and parking for staff. Wehby

said the gymnasium would be available to all employees.

The group plans to consolidate the foods businesses within the downtown campus to take advantage of the available space.

 

UNDER LEASE

 

Wehby said that most of the office spaces that will be vacated, such as those in New Kingston, were under lease.

"We expect to realise savings from the ending of a number of leases with external parties and also from the substantial tax incentives offered by the Urban Renewal Act," the group CEO said.

The new headquarters was constructed by China Sinopharm International Corporation (CSIC), which Wehby said met the requirements of a selective tender issued in September 2016. Four bids were submitted, two from local contractors and two from overseas service providers.

Sinopharm's work was on time and within budget, Wehby said.

The US$25 million contract was signed between GraceKennedy and CSIC in February 2017, construction started the following month, and, as the conglomerate stipulated, 150 Jamaicans were employed on the project.

Michael Ranglin, chairman of GraceKennedy, Properties Limited had project oversight.

GraceKennedy has been operating from downtown Kingston for upwards of 95 years. The building is its fourth project in the area. In 2012, the GK Financial Centre was constructed at the corner of Harbour and Duke Streets, and in 1997 a new corporate office was developed at 73 Harbour Street.

avia.collinder@gleanerjm.com