The Tamana Technology Park, run by State enterprise Evolving Technology (eTecK), has been mired in controversy, but yesterday phase one of the 1,100-acre, $2.2 billion facility, including its flagship building was officially declared open by Trade Minister Vasant Bharath.
Bharath, speaking at the opening ceremony at the old US World War II air base in Wallerfield, where the park is located, called the occasion “historic”, not the least because after nearly 15 years of planning and preparation, including several starts and stops, the project has finally been completed and ready to accept tenants.
Bharath noted that while the overall cost was $2.2 billion, the government had inherited $240 million from the previous administration; the cost output for the flagship building, he estimated, was about $100 million, adding that when the government came into office, about 50 per cent of the construction had already been completed. The contractor who took over the project in 2011 was local firm Coosal’s, and executive chairman Sieunarine Coosal said the project was completed on time and within budget.
The sod for the 1,100-acre facility was first ceremonially turned in 1999 by then prime minister Basdeo Panday and his Trade Minister Mervyn Assam. In 2006, another Prime Minister, Patrick Manning turned the sod again, this time for the University of Trinidad and Tobago campus that would provide the trained professional and technical expertise through its student body to staff the companies setting up in the park.
Then, in 2009, construction on the park was halted, until it was revived again in 2011, until now.
Despite the fanfare, the park currently has no tenants actually operating. At least two companies have already signed leases to set up, and hope to do so by the end of the year.
One tenant, Energy Dynamics intends to begin construction of its warehouse and office from September.
Bharath said the government has also already signed a US$135 million deal, including a lease agreement with Columbus Communications for that company to set up a data recovery centre at Tamana.
There are no tenants yet for the 140,000-square foot flagship building but he said that the government was hoping to close a deal with an international company specialising in medical care by the end of the week, although he declined to give the name.
He added that the company had expressed its interest in acquiring the entire building.