QCOSTARICA – While the Ministry of Finance (Ministerio de Hacienda) contemplates the spending of US$121 million dollars to purchase its own building outright to house its 2.000 employees, it was revealed that it has lots of vacancies in the building 13 building it currently rents and the four it owns.
At the Centro Corporativo Internacional Torre B, located in Barrio Don Bosco, housing the Tax Administration San Jose West (Administración Tributaria San José Oeste), Hacienda pays out ¢118 million colones (US$200.000 dollars) monthly in rent.
The building has space of 447 people, yet only 266 work there, meaning it has 181 work spaces empty and paying rent for.
The information comes from the “Proyecto de Unificación Hacendaria” (Draft Fiscal Unification), a study by the Ministry to investigate, among other things, the vacant space in the rented buildings.
But it doesn’t stop there.
Hacienda has vacancies in other buildings, such as the “bodegas” (warehouses) in Sabana Sur, where vacancy is at 72% and the Centro de Información Hacendaria with a vacancy of 53%.
Also with high vacancies are the buildings: Mira (22%), LLacuna (13%) and Fischel (30%), for which the Ministry pays rent in the amount of ¢6 billion colones annually.
In the case of “owned” buildings, the Ministry of Finance also has lots of empty space. For example, in its main office on Avenida Segunda (across from the Teatro Nacional) it has 102 work stations sitting empty. At the Efitec building, 43 and in Barrio Esclante, 21.
According to the Administrative and Financial Director of the Ministry of Finance, Dina Víquez, these idle spacious correspond to growth projections of ministry staff.
Yet, it was determined that of 34.034 square meters the Ministry of Finance currently rents in San José, it it optimized its use of space it would only require 24.708 square meters or 9.444 less than what it currently pays rent on.
Last Friday, the Ministry of Finance announced it was seeking approval from the Comptroller’s office (Contraloría General de la República – CGR) approval for the purchase of the Centro Corporativo el Tobogán, currently under construction, for US$121 million dollars.
On Tuesday, the Comptroller denied approval, citing legal and technical problems with the intended purchase, ie. liens and encumbrances against the property.
On Wednesday, Ministry of Finance officials said they would analyze the observations made by the Comptroller in order to continue with the process of buying the real estate.
In its justifications, the Ministry of Finance says the purchase would save taxpayers millions of dollars that is currently paid out in rent.