‘Forging ahead’ with Dockyard restoration
The West End Development Corporation is “forging ahead” to restore buildings in Dockyard and Sandys in the run-up to the 35th America's Cup.
“We have made progress,” said Wedco's general manager, Andrew Dias. “We are doing the best that we probably can do at this time and we don't give up — we keep forging ahead and pushing and pushing to get it done.”
As part of a $10 to $12 million dollar investment in the area over the next five years, Wedco announced that it was planning to restore three buildings on the old HMS Malabar shore station.
The site will be turned into short-term visitor accommodation with a pool, patio and restaurant.
Wedco chairman Raymond Charlton said: “Moresby House is progressing — the group that responded to the request for proposal (RFP) and are developing that area have submitted new plans to the Planning Department.
“The plan is to keep the main architectural features of the two-storey building and to renovate the cottage and to make any other buildings there fit with the period in which those buildings were created,” Mr Charlton said.
He added that additional structures would be erected “slightly down the hill”.
“We are happy to see that being put to good use and we are also seeing that as the entrance to Dockyard being tidied up,” he said.
Asbestos at the old base has been removed and Wedco is hoping that the developer-funded project will be completed next year. To save three buildings on the site, Wedco has agreed to sacrifice the delisted Fleet Club building.
“With the Fleet Club involved the business plan didn't work. We had the choice of not agreeing to the Fleet Club and losing potentially all the buildings, or agreeing to the Fleet Club and saving the more iconic buildings,” Mr Charlton explained.
“If we had our wish, we would have loved to have saved all of them.”
Construction work within Dockyard is also progressing, with building North Basin (NB) Nine — now home of Oracle Team USA — having already been turned over to the ACBDA.
The group was planning to take over NB Four, but needed the space sooner than expected.
Wedco concentrated on readying NB Nine “instead of putting our efforts and our funds into restoring both buildings”, Mr Charlton said.
Although internal work still needs to be done on NB Nine, Wedco is turning its attention to NB Four, which needs a new roof, windows and doors.
Mr Dias said: “We are working with ACBDA to determine what the best uses will be for that.”
Building NB Six, however, has been converted into storage space for vendors, who previously used warehouses in the South Basin.
“We're finding a use for a building which was previously underutilised,” Mr Charlton said. “The roof was in poor shape and the asbestos needed to be abated.”
Wedco is also planning to upgrade the Grade I listed Prince Alfred Terrace, which was extensively damaged in last year's twin hurricanes, into 14 three-bed, two-bath units through a $3 million investment.
Plans to renovate the Grade II listed Albert Row and unlisted Victoria Row have also gone out to RFP.
But Mr Charlton said they had no viable business plan and urged people to get in touch if they saw a potential use for the buildings and could secure funding. He added that it was possible Victoria Row would have to be demolished if no developer is found.
“To leave it there as a derelict — I'm not sure that's the image we would like to be portraying for the America's Cup,” he said.
Mr Dias said that over the coming five years, “Wedco will have looked at putting $10 to $12 million into the community”.
This does not include the $39 million budget for the land reclamation in the South Basin, which would bring the total to about $50 million. Some $2 million has already been put towards the $6.3 million worth of damage caused by the hurricanes, and work on the TS Venture building, the cruise ship terminal and Messina House has been completed.
But there is more to be done and plans are under way for additional projects in Dockyard and the surrounding area.
“Confidence in the Dockyard continues to grow, especially with the America's Cup coming,” Mr Charlton said.