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Jul 20, 2017

Belize City Center Near Completion

Two years after the start of construction, the Belize City Center is about to be completed. The multipurpose facility is state-of-the-art and can accommodate up to four thousand spectators. It is designed by brothers Daniel and Carlo Arguelles of International Environments. But how much is being spent on the complex? I.E. representative Daniel says they have kept within budget. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The reimagined Belize City Center, built from the ground up, will stand as a hallmark of the Barrow administration, with funds set aside from the PetroCaribe days of plenty.  That’s according to Prime Minister Dean Barrow.  The project has been two years in the making and is nearing completion.  Designed by brothers Daniel and Carlo Arguelles of International Environments and erected by Medina’s Construction, the state-of-the-art sporting complex is a lot to take in visually.  This afternoon, the media was allowed onto the site for a walk through of the ongoing development and we‘ve seen at first look is quite impressive.


Daniel Arguelles

Voice of: Daniel Arguelles, International Environments

“We have the building set for handing over, substantial completion in September, sometime in late September.  We were given two years to execute this work from pen to paper, to finished turnkey completion by December of this year.  We are, in this current time, ahead of schedule by three months and we hope to have the building done by the end of September.”


Once completed, the multipurpose facility will be able to comfortably accommodate up to four thousand, five hundred occupants with individual seating.  The prominent feature inside this vast steel frame and concrete structure is a FIBA certified basketball court which is being configured for adaptability.


Voice of: Daniel Arguelles

“As design build, which encompasses the concept of designing with the intent to meet a budget and throughout the design process we had to and accomplished getting all the requirements under the program given to us by our client, to house in this facility everything and a little more because of design efficiencies.  And in doing so, we have, being the architect and contractors together, we are able to mitigate the efficiencies that comes with design versus new bidding processes and unforeseen.  So in this project in particular, there was little to no unforeseen because of the design intent that we had from the vision from the start.”


That vision also includes being able to use this massive construction as somewhat of a doomsday shelter for emergency management personnel in the event of a catastrophic natural disaster.


Voice of: Daniel Arguelles

“We were able to accomplish a building that is designed to withstand earthquake seismic activity in this region, hurricanes up to a category five and encapsulate most of all the accessories that is needed to run an operation like this, meaning the business factor.  The building has to be operated and designed in a manner that it will foster business, and in doing so we added anchor tenancy opportunities, micro business opportunities and in and outside the building opportunities so that the generation of business can make this project work.”


At peak usage, approximately three hundred and forty-five thousand dollars is needed to cover electricity expenses, therefore the venue would have to be utilized at least once or twice a month.  By doing so the operational costs of maintaining the building would also be covered.  For that idea to become a reality, the new city center has to be ran as a private business.


Voice of: Daniel Arguelles

“In my opinion, yes.  And for the sole purposes that a business owner, manager or a company of some type of public/private partnership or some equation of that kind of business model is necessary to run this building for it to function under the standards that we had designed or intended for it to operate.  So yes, in my opinion, it would be the best case scenario.  It is not the only scenario but it is the preferred or recommended scenario.”


With a hefty price tag to boot, many believe that construction of the building has significantly exceeded government’s budget.  According to Daniel Arguelles, the project is well within the thirty-two million dollar outlay.


Voice of: Daniel Arguelles

“We are currently at and within budget and we project that we will remain within budget up until handing over in the total amount of thirty-two million.  With that thirty-two million, the building occupies or can be or serves about three purposes: hurricane shelter, a multifaceted entertainment facility, it can host concerts, boxing, entertainment type venues, conventions and of course basketball, volleyball, sporting venues.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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