Fiscal Control Board Will Have Offices in Milla de Oro
Starting in April, the World Plaza building in Hato Rey will be the center of operations of the Federal Oversight Board or 'Junta de Control Fiscal', as was confirmed by the interim executive director of the organism, Ramón Ruiz Comas, to NotiCel.
'That is correct. The offices will be in World Plaza and we hope to begin in April', said yesterday Ruiz Comas about the tip that received this news media outlet about the decision of the Board to establish its headquarters in the building that used to be Westernbank in the Muñoz Rivera avenue in Hato Rey.
NotiCel knew of a work team for the Oversight Board that visited the building's premises to see the facilities that will become their offices in Puerto Rico. There are still some details to finish on the lease which could go for $510,000 to $600,000 approximately annually between them and the Finances and Infrastructure Authority (AFI, for its acronym in Spanish), the government entity proprietary of the emblematic building located in the exclusive banking area.
Ruiz Comas had expressed the Board's interest in establishing headquarters in a building that is already government property. Since February they have been weighing the options, but had not yet taken a decision because of the importance of prioritizing the efforts of the work team of the organism in the fiscal government plan.
'The offices will be perfect. We are going to have an opportunity for growth if there is the need…And like I said the other day, the objective that the facilities belonged to the government was achieved so that the resources stay within the government and we will not have to pay third parties', explained Ruiz Comas.
Preliminarily, the Board or ‘la Junta', contemplates leasing approximately 2,500 square feet for all the task force in Puerto Rico. The 23- story building also has the Police Monitor offices, the Court Administration office (OAT, for its acronym in Spanish) and the Appeals Court. Also, the recently created Authority for Public-Private Alliances established its offices there, in addition to other private entities that maintain their offices there like Seaborne Airline.
'We have been in conversation about renting out some spaces in World Plaza. They even visited the facilities and were shown the place. We have not yet signed a contract, but we have shown much interest for the facilities, its location and because it is a property of the Authority for the Finance of Infrastructure (AFI), that they want it to be government facility', pointed out the executive director of AFI, Eduardo Rivera Cruz.
The functionary explained that the lease in World Plaza, as established, varies per leaser. For a private company, it is between $23 to $28 monthly per square feet and for agencies or organisms related to the public sector it is between $17 to $20 per square feet monthly.
'You guys know better than I do', pointed out the interim executive director of the Oversight Board when we asked if the new offices will be specifically in the 11 th floor of the building, that is available almost in its entirety. The only office that is running in that floor is the recently created office for the Authority for Public-Private Alliances, confirmed NotiCel after gaining access to the area.
'We have more than 10,000 square feet available and is part of what we look for in accordance to the fiscal plan to maximize government actives, in leasing for government and private enterprises', said the AFI director.
The historic building was the old headquarters of the Banco de Ponce and emblematic for the banking growth of Puerto Rico in the times of bonanza. Built in 1972, the immense tower is one of the tallest and impressive structures of the business location in Hato Rey. For years, it was the central building for Westernbank of Puerto Rico until its closing. In 2012 it was acquired by the government through AFI.