Board members, supervisory committee and managerial staff members from the Teachers and Salaried Workers Co-operative Credit Union Limited were on island on Feb.22 for a groundbreaking ceremony and official tour of the construction site of their new business complex.
The members were able to appreciate a stately view of the 55,000 to 64,000 sq. ft. building complex where construction began during the last week of September 2012.
During the ceremony, Alvan K. Rolle, architect of the project, commented on the progress of the building complex, and was hopeful that the contractors had satisfied all of the members’ expectations. Pastor Deion Gibson of Assemblies of God Church was asked to lead in prayer before Donald Symonette, chairman of the board, made opening remarks and stated the vision of the credit union.
Symonette recalled that after they had opened their head office in New Providence in 1977, they ventured over to Abaco in the early 1980s in support of agriculture. Unfortunately, things did not work out, so they later went on to Grand Bahama. During that time growth was slow within the organization, he said, and they had even considered closing the Teachers and Salaried Workers office altogether. However, some people remained determined because they saw growth for Abaco, so they decided to stay.
The previous government recommended that Teachers and Salaried Workers purchase the property where they are now, and they were encouraged to sell lots. In the beginning, Symonette said, they envisioned a housing development, but that vision didn’t go far.
Finally, The Counsellors Limited was invited to come in, and they found out what could be done to set up a business complex. The decision was made to develop something big because they saw this part of the island growing.
“On paper it looked small, but here, it is very, very large. Here it is divine vision that there would be some growth,” Symonette said.
In October of this year, the members will return to the site for the official opening of the business complex.
“We’d like to thank you for coming here and supporting us because we’re here to stay, so pass the word on,” Symonette said.
Rolle then invited applications for tenants, which he said should be directed to Mrs. Hadassah Marche, Abaco branch manager, at the Teachers and Salaried Workers Co-operative Credit Union Limited in Marsh Harbour, so that they can begin screening applicants.
“With all of the places that we have in here, it is an opportunity whereby local Abaconians can set themselves aside to do business as entrepreneurs. We have been complaining all along that we do not get opportunities – there it is,” Rolle said, as he pointed toward the buildings. “Local people can become business people and improve themselves, so we are now taking applications.
Tour of Business Complex
Following the brief ceremony, Woslee executives, namely Ashley H. Glinton, Woslee President; and Don Wilmott, general superintendent, along with the board members were taken on a tour of the site with O’Neil Moss, project manager. Moss said that the tour gave the members an opportunity to get a good feel of the size of the food store area, which is presently identified as Building A.
“Once we’re done with the roof like I said within the next two to three weeks, we’re going to start our interior plaster work, so knowing anyone you have right now as far as any utilities or infrastructure that they need in this would be a great time to get them in,” he shared. “ One of the good things with where we are in the construction phase is getting to know the potential tenants, and who they are would help a lot in bringing some of what they need for their space if we can get it in while we are going rather than having to come back and retrofit.”
According to Moss, the building is also equipped with two elevators and three independent generators dedicated for office spaces, the food store and the credit union building for security purposes. The parking area will be able to hold 200 plus vehicles, and flooding and runoff from the site are non-issues, Moss said, because it is an area that they are proud of and have paid close attention to.
Just one building down from Building A is a proposed hardware store at 4,000 square ft., which offers a one-stop shop with additional stores that complete the multi-office complex.
“The intent was to really bring a little of everything right to this central area here on Abaco,” Moss said. “You’ve got your food store, we’re about to walk to a restaurant on the opposite end, you’ve got your hardware, so it’s really pulling just about every type of business.”
The group also visited some of the office areas before completing the tour at the credit union building. Once completed later this year, Moss assured them that the Teachers and Salaried Workers business complex will be at the forefront and will be seen as a contemporary among other centers on the island. For more information, contact the Teachers and Salaried Workers Office at 367-3613/4.