Export Barbados (BIDC) has been systematically upgrading and repurposing its industrial estates over the past two years. The Pelican Industrial Estate, including Pelican Centre, located on the Princess Alice Highway, Bridgetown, is set to undergo redevelopment designed to sustainably address the perennial issues of the Estate.
Acting Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Export Barbados (BIDC) Andrea Burgess outlined some of the challenges during the first in a series of meetings with tenants to discuss the new plans and their future within the Estate. The tenants also had the opportunity to air their views and provide feedback on the plans.
“Many of the shops are closed on Saturdays, which is a prime commercial day and cruise passengers often pass by without stopping. We also recognize that Pelican has very quaint, peculiar little buildings, some with dark windows preventing you from seeing inside. Added to that, every year we invest about one million dollars into running Pelican and we get about $350,000 in revenue billings from rent. This is detrimental to the Corporation, and the return on investment is even less than stated, because the billings are quite distinct from what we actually collect,” Burgess stated.
Cognizant of this reality, the Management of Export Barbados (BIDC) has devised a plan to turn around the industrial Estate’s fortune based on sound business modelling. Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mark Hill announced that Pelican, which consists of 19 structures on 270,000 square feet of land, will be divided into three zones based on the nature of the businesses. He disclosed that Zone 1 is to be a food and entertainment center; Zone 2 a space for artisans to practice their craft, with a multi-use commercial space being introduced to the area for artisans to sell their products; and finally, Zone 3 is to be the lifestyle hub, featuring elderly and children daycare facilities, an activities center, and a medical clinic.
CEO Hill said, “For development to happen, change must occur. In Zone 3, some of you may experience some disruption because it is becoming a lifestyle zone exclusively, so all the makers, designers, and artisans in that Zone will transition to Zone 2, and all the makers, designers, and artisans in Zone 1 will also transition to Zone 2, also being called Pink Pelican. There is more than enough space in Pink Pelican for a number of shops. We are changing the business model. Pelican will not just be a place for tourists to buy locally made products, but a commercial hub with a variety of offerings for locals and visitors alike”.
Adding to his comments, Deputy CEO (Ag.) Burgess said the revitalization of Pelican is based on a life-centric design that will benefit all involved.
“We believe that some of the benefits of the redevelopment are smaller, more affordable units, a reduction in the overhead costs to run the overall plant, and that the units will be outfitted and move in ready. We want to assure you that we are doing this for our mutual benefit. There is going to be some displacement, some discomfort, some adjustment, but at the end of the day, it is so that we can make Pelican more profitable, more life-sustaining, livelier and a major driver of the bottom line,” Burgess added.
Burgess also assured the artisans in good standing that are required to relocate to Zone 2 of Pelican, that the Corporation would assist them in moving.
Architect and Director, Archis Design Group Inc., Andre Brathwaite, was also on hand to explain the design for the daycare in the new Zone 3 area. He explained that the facility will cater to children from three months to four years old, and the two-story building will have an indoor multi-use space on the top floor. Additionally, he stated the building is designed to use photovoltaic panels to reduce the cost of electricity.
Work on the redevelopment of Pelican is slated to commence on June 1, 2023, and is anticipated to be completed by March 31, 2024. This work follows other development initiatives being undertaken by Export Barbados (BIDC), including the recently opened International Food Science Center, located in the Newton Industrial Estate and the Life Sciences Hub being constructed a short distance away, the soon-to-be-opened Mechanics Bay at Grazettes, St. Michael and the pending Export-Import Bank.