FIRST National Bank in the Eastern Cape has invested R150-million in the construction of a state- of-the-art new office block for its various business units in Newton Park.
Construction is expected to be complete in December.
FNB said the project was based on a “long-term view in terms of the overall economic viability of Port Elizabeth and the greater Eastern Cape region”.
“Against this background, we decided to embark on a multimillion-rand investment in the city of Port Elizabeth, in spite of the difficult economic circumstances at the time,” FNB Eastern Cape provincial chairperson Sagren Ramalingum said.
The project, with a total investment in the region of R150-million, started in October following initial bulk earthworks to the site. Principal contractor SBT Construction then took over the site.
Ramalingum said the bank believed it to be the largest office block construction project the city had seen in recent years.
“The initiative was also to consolidate the various [business units] into A-grade space and so achieve all the attendant operational and financial benefits, as well as to raise the branding profile of the organisation.”
He said the building would be occupied by FirstRand group business units and would include group companies like Rand Merchant Bank, FNB Private Clients, RMB Private Bank, Global Transactional Services, International Banking, FNB Insurance Brokers, FNB Commercial Banking and Wesbank.
“We have created capacity for future growth and expansion, but our immediate aim is not to let out space to third parties at this stage,” Ramalingum said.
Once completed, the building would have 6237m² gross leasable area comprising a basement, four levels of parking and five office levels.
“We have made a firm commitment towards job creation and the local economy. The retention of investment capital in the Eastern Cape and Port Elizabeth was important to us and it is against this background that we decided to ring-fence and restrict the tender process to local contractors and companies as far as possible.”
Companies involved in the project include SBT Construction, Stauch Vorster Architects, Clinkscales Maugham-Brown, De Leeuw Group, Sigma Consulting and Eris Property Group.