ON a hillside once planted with surgarcane, across the valley from the St Clement’s Anglican Church, the pile drivers last week began work on the foundation for a facility that will likely transform the city of San Fernando. The C3 Centre — a new shopping and entertainment complex — is being built on land off the northbound lane of the Solomon Hochoy Highway. The centre will house a super JTA Supermarket, MovieTowne and several US-based outlets. The $500 million project is being undertaken by the Mack family, founders of JT Allum and Company. JT Allum and Company will celebrate its 70th anniversary this year. Over its long history it has gained the respect of the public and the business community in Trinidad and Tobago. The name JT Allum and Company has been known for strong business ethics for years and has generated successful operations in the supermarket and real estate industries, Minister of Planning and Sustainable Development Dr Bhoendradatt Tewarie said. Tewarie was speaking at the sod turning ceremony for C3 Centre in Corinth, San Fernando two Wednesdays ago. JT Allum and Company is privately-owned by members of the second and third generations of the San Fernando-based Mack family. Founder Carlton K Mack migrated to Trinidad as a young man from China. And starting from humble beginnings he incorporated JT Allum in 1943 at #100 High Street, San Fernando. “By the 1950s Carlton Mack assumed full ownership of the business and he then embarked on an aggressive expansion of the business in both the supermarket and real estate industries,” Tewarie said. In the supermarket business, Mack developed one of the largest and most well-known super- market chains in the country. Allum’s Supermarkets Ltd, now JTA Supermarkets Ltd, will celebrate its 25th anniversary this year. Carlton Mack also developed new shopping malls including Carlton Centre, Cross Crossing Shopping Complex and Allum Shopping Centre in Marabella. He was awarded the Humming Bird Gold in 1975 for his outstanding contribution to the nation’s development. Mack died in 1995, entrusting the leadership of his empire to his son Carl Mack. His grandson, managing director Christopher Mack, said the eight-screen MovieTowne cineplex is expected to be completed in 2015. The project, estimated at $500 million, is expected to begin within two weeks. “With almost 600,000 square feet of building space to be built on over 20 acres of land, C3 Centre will deliver a unique shopping and entertainment experience to the southland that will be the envy of other malls in the country,” Mack said. United States-based Chuck-E-Cheese will open a children’s entertainment destination for preteens, while local brand Galactica will be there for older children. Mack said C3 Centre will offer a wide array of shopping in its fully air-conditioned retail mall, including a food court and a themed outdoor courtyard with a wide selection of casual dining restaurants. He said on weekends the courtyard will be a hub of activities as visitors will enjoy live entertainment and performances. C3 Centre will be constructed off the Solomon Hochoy Highway, west of the northbound lane between the Corinth Interchange and Naparima/Mayaro Road. “Within a ten-mile radius, C3 will attract a population base of over 300,000 people and when the highway is extended to Point Fortin the populace from the communities of Debe, Penal, Siparia, Fyzabad and Point Fortin will all have easy and convenient access to this shopping and entertainment destination. As they drive north along the highway, it is C3 they will see,” he said. Mack said the C3 Centre will embark on several “green” initiatives including the construction of extensive water retention ponds to recycle rain water, the use of natural gas, solar panels and extensive skylights for saving energy. Minister Tewarie described the project as the most exciting commercial developments in the south of Trinidad. “The JT Allum Group is now poised to embark on one of the largest private commercial developments in the country,” he said. Tewarie said through the C3 Centre project the Mack family will generate significant employment during its construction and sustainable jobs over the long term. “It will also provide a much needed destination for families and individuals to come and shop as well as be fully entertained by a wide variety of attractions,” he said. San Fernando Mayor Dr Navi Muradali noted at the launch that the C3 Centre was being constructed at an appropriate time, when the people of the southland were seeking places of entertainment and avenues for family enjoyment. carolyn.kissoon@trinidadexpress.com