The price tag of 660,000 Netherlands Antillean guilders to demolish the old government administration building on Clem Labega Square (see Thursday paper) is considered rather high by some. After all, they reason, the complex was badly damaged and remained an abandoned ruin for years, so there’s not that much left.
However, this amount entails a 15% contingency and the project involves more than bulldozing walls. For starters, certain elements such as documents stored there must be safeguarded.
Retrieved concrete goes to the dump to be turned into fine dust for use in construction and infrastructure work. Metals will be processed by the steel crushers on Pond Island for recycling, while fixtures are also being salvaged for reuse and upcycling.
The good news is that the contractor expects to finish this job with 25 employees in 60 working days, less than three months. During that time several spaces at the public parking lot there won’t be accessible.
Exactly what happens at the vacant property afterwards is not yet known, but on Wednesday, October 14, 2020, Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Planing, Environment and Infrastructure VROMI Egbert Doran presented his vision for that area including the former post office. It comprises 70 duplex homes with ground-floor parking and residential towers featuring another 44 living accommodations plus 18 business units with green zone and parking.
In addition, a new multi-storey structure will offer public parking on the first, second and third floors, commercial section on the ground floor as well as Parliament and some government offices on the fourth floor. Another building is to house vendors on the ground floor plaza along with restaurants and offices on the first and second floors, while there will also be a central park.
To what extent these plans can be realised remains to be seen, but increasing rather reducing the public parking capacity at that location is very important to bring life to Philipsburg. Parking for shopping and other activities that generate income is currently at a premium and care should be taken to not make things worse in practice.