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Facey warehouse rising from the ashes

Published:Wednesday | June 7, 2023 | 12:32 AMNeville Graham/ - Business Reporter
Seprod CEO Richard Pandohie on the grounds of the company’s headquarters in Kingston.
Seprod CEO Richard Pandohie on the grounds of the company’s headquarters in Kingston.

Seprod Limited is rebuilding the warehouse that was destroyed by fire at the Facey Commodity complex located within Kingston’s industrial belt, although it doesn’t own the facility. Signs of the construction emerged two months ago, but Seprod CEO...

Seprod Limited is rebuilding the warehouse that was destroyed by fire at the Facey Commodity complex located within Kingston’s industrial belt, although it doesn’t own the facility.

Signs of the construction emerged two months ago, but Seprod CEO Richard Pandohie said preparatory work on the project had been under way since July 2022.

The facility, comprising 100,000 square feet, is separate from the warehousing space operated by the manufacturing and distribution company at its main campus at Felix Fox Boulevard.

Seprod didn’t own the warehouse that was consumed in a blaze in October 2021 at Newport West in Kingston. It only operated it under lease.

However, Pandohie said his company was contractually obligated to rebuild the facility.

“There is a lease agreement with a consortium and part of the obligations under the lease is to rebuild whatever facility that would have suffered in the fire,” he told the Financial Gleaner.

The consortium was not identified.

Seprod had started demolition and clearing works immediately after the fire, which affected 100,000 square feet of the food distribution facilities of Facey Commodity Company Limited, a Seprod subsidiary.

Damage from the fire was estimated at $1 billion. The property was insured.

Although the structure had been going up for some time, a perimeter fence erected at the start of the preparatory works hid all activity from view until cranes started to hoist the massive steel purlins into place.

Pandohie says the former Facey Commodity distribution centre was leased premises, and part of the arrangement with the unnamed consortium of owners was full restoration.

Funds for the reconstruction are coming from the insurance proceeds from the fire. Pandohie declined to comment on the specifics of the costs involved, saying the final figure would be the basis of discussions as the parties explored the future use of the building.

He also would not comment on the specific purpose to which the reconstructed building would be put, but said it would see continued use, possibly within the Musson Group, a large diversified conglomerate, which owns the biggest block of shares in Seprod Group.

Seprod’s Facey business was acquired from the Musson Group in 2018.

The new building covers 100,000 square feet with headroom of over 40 feet. The pace of work suggests that it should be enclosed before year-end but Pandohie declined to give a timeline the completion.

He insisted that the warehouse reconstruction would not be a drain on the company.

“There will be no financial impact on Seprod. Whatever we’re spending, we’re doing so as part of the insurance payout,” he asserted.

The company recently put the finishing touches on its 200,000 square feet logistics centre at the Seprod Campus and headquarters located at 3 Felix Fox Boulevard headquarters. Seprod also has a another 35,000 square feet of warehousing space on the same campus in addition to other warehouse space at the its Spanish Town Road operational base of subsidiary, Industrial Sales.

neville.graham@gleanerjm.com