ST ANN’S – THE restoration of the iconic President’s House in St Ann’s has been completed at a cost of $89 million.
On Friday the project was handed over to the Office of the Prime Minister by the Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago (UDECOTT).
This means that President Paula-Mae Weekes can now officially move into President’s House.
UDECOTT Chairman Noel Garcia said the building would be able to withstand a massive earthquake.
Speaking to the media during a tour of the building, Garcia said the building was badly damaged by an earthquake in 2007 which caused the entire second floor to collapse. And the building was also hit by another earthquake this year adding to delays, he said.
Garcia said, “It could withstand an earthquake probably of 8 point something because we restored with the view that Trinidad is in an earthquake zone…and all the seismic codes have been followed.”
The project was done by Marcel and Leela Labban of Unicom Ltd with architect Alison Grosberg and specialist restoration architects Max Ojeda and Andres Botero and a UDECOTT team.
The building that includes living and dining areas, kitchen, gym, patios, guest bedrooms and the President’s Suite has already been fully furnished and decorated for the Christmas season.
Grosberg said one of the bedrooms contains antique furniture that was more than 100 years old.
UDECOTT handed over the keys to the Office of the Prime Minister which will oversee handing over to the President.
Garcia said, “UDECOTT will not walk away from the project, we will work alongside Her Excellency’s staff and the National Trust to ensure that this building is maintained and preserved long into the future.”
He said, “We are proud of the work. This is a landmark project. It is really a lesson to the rest of the country to respect our heritage because it is something that we need to always keep in mind that we need to respect and guard our heritage.”