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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

In wake of fire representative proposes sale of Minillas towers

The roof of the south tower of the Minillas Government Center in Santurce registered a fire on Monday while roof sealing treatment was being carried out.

By John McPhaul

The representative for Carolina and House Majority Leader Ángel Matos García, proposed the staggered closure, the transfer of agencies and the sale of the Minillas government complex, given the economic situation of the Public Buildings Authority.

“As recently as last Thursday I visited the Minillas towers and in an ocular hearing on the roof where the fire (on Monday) occurred, we could see that, given the deteriorating condition of the physical floors of the buildings, there is simply no way without adequate money to finance their operations. The Public Buildings Authority (can’t operate) with the money he has,” Matos Garcia said in written statements.

The representative indicated that the rent debts that the government itself does not pay, asbestos problems, improvements in the south tower and the fire on the roof of the south tower Monday adds an additional economic burden, the sale of these buildings should be seriously considered.

The debt accumulated by government agencies is around $259 million, the removal and treatment of asbestos from these towers is estimated at $15 million and the improvements to the south tower before the fire was $70 million.

“The Authority is simply undercapitalized and its business model needs an injection of over $300 million,” said the representative for Carolina.

Last Thursday, the Public Funds Oversight Committee carried out an inspection based on Resolution 876 authored by Matos García, to investigate the conditions of the Government Center and the proper handling and removal of asbestos in the towers.

“I know it’s a radical decision for buildings of 51 years of construction. But without the collaboration of La Fortaleza and the Fiscal Supervision Board, the Minillas complex is not viable for its operation. It is better to sell at market value so that the private sector stops refusing housing development in the capital city. The Public Buildings Authority has other properties to lease to agencies and once and for all, we close this chapter, “ said Matos García.

Finally, the representative questioned how long the south tower will be closed, how much water and smoke damage this fire caused, how long it will take to certify the safety of the roof exposed to high temperatures.

“There are many questions and without the right money the Public Buildings Authority will not have the answers,” he concluded.

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