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Housing Minister Pennelope Beckles

The Ministry of Housing and Development will spend some $45M TT to renovate and refurbish the East Side Plaza in Port-of-Spain as part of the Government’s capital city revitalisation plan.

This according to Housing Minister Pennelope Beckles who was speaking at a Ministry of Works and Transport press conference in Port-of-Spain yesterday, Beckles dispelled rumours that Government was planning to sell the Plaza to the Chinese Government.

“What has been said in the public domain is that the Government is selling East Side Plaza to the Chinese- let me make it abundantly clear that that is totally and absolutely false,” she said.

She said the building is about 100 years old and has been used since 1991 as a business incubator for entrepreneurs to grow their businesses.

“It was conceptualised to cater for street vendors so they could receive the guidance to develop competencies for integration into mainstream activity.”

She said there are currently 150 small businesses housed in the Charlotte Street mall.

Beckles described the renovation plan as an intervention. She said two other State entities in Port-of-Spain will be included in this new development under one entity.

“It will serve to significantly boost the economic performance and attraction of this iconic edifice that once served the capital city’s historic market. In so doing the project would result in the rebranding of three malls- the East Side Plaza, New City Mall and 43 Independence Square as a single entity under the Port-of-Spain Shopping Complex Limited.”

The project will be funded by an Inter-American Bank loan and will improve the health and safety aspects of the building.

“It will increase the building’s accessibility and functionality and revamp the physical infrastructure including electrical, plumbing and air condition systems- the project will also see the introduction of new cost-saving green building initiatives such as thermal insulation for the roof, installation of a chilled water air condition system and enhanced optimisation of natural lighting.”

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley unveiled his Government’s plan to revitalise the capital city in November 2020, saying although this is the 17th plan to revamp it, his administration can make it work.

The plans involve the revitalisation of the Piccadilly Street Development among others..