The Municipality of Liberia wants to bet big and they already have plans ready for a new mega municipal building that they hope will become a nationwide model.
According to the plans, the building would be four floors with an area of 6,400 square meters (68,900 square feet) and would use modern construction that is environmentally sustainable.
For example, the design includes solar panels, native plants, plenty of parking, conference rooms, natural lighting and energy-efficient LED lights as well as cross ventilation systems to cool the atmosphere inside the building.
There will also be commercial spaces that will be rented out to generate income for the municipality. According to the plans, the municipal offices will be on the ground floor and the spaces for rent will be on the second floor.
The project is an initiative of the Institute of Municipal Development and Consultation (IFAM-Instituto de Fomento y Asesoria Municipal), which has provided technical assistance to Liberia’s mayor’s office, which seeks to solve the problem of overcrowding that the nearly 200 municipal officials have to face each day.
On December 14, the seven Liberian council members unanimously approved authorizing the mayor, Luis Gerardo Castañeda, to look for the $3 million needed to finance the project.
Chinese Investment or National Loan
According to Castañeda, there are two ways to fund this mega project. The first, and the one that Castañeda sees as the most favorable, is through a concession to a company that would take care of the total construction costs and would be allowed to manage the property for a limited period in order to recover the investment.
“We are going to consult the Comptroller General of the Republic’s office to see if we give the concession to a company. We (the municipality) will not pay a cent.
The concession could be for 15 to 20 years for this company to manage the premises and then the municipality would receive it,” Castañeda said.
The mayor said that several Chinese businessmen are interested in investing in Liberia. However, national companies or companies from other countries have not been ruled out either.
If the project is not done through a concession, the other option that the mayor is considering is a loan through IFAM.
“If we have to do the loan, we would do it with IFAM, which charges us 9.75% interest,” he stated.
The location of this new building would be on municipal land near Plaza de Toros Camilo Reyes, a sector where the canton’s civic fiestas are also held regularly.
According to estimates by the mayor, they plan to initiate the process of contracting the company to be in charge of the work by April of 2016.
Moreover, once the current municipal building is vacated, Castañeda said that they will use the space for a regional crafts market.