Sweid & Sweid’s Visa CEMEA Headquarters Building is approaching the final stages of construction, with delivery due in the third quarter of 2021. Construction of the commercial office building began at the end of 2019, and once complete it will become the central headquarters for Visa operations across the Central and Eastern European, Middle East and Africa regions.
Sweid & Sweid Director of Construction, David Fell, provided an update on the current project status, explaining that significant milestones were recently achieved as the project rapidly progresses. “We’re currently in the midst of the final push towards completion and handover,” David said. “We now have DEWA power available on site and we have chilled water coming into the building, which are two huge milestones for us.”
David stated that externally, the building envelope is approximately 90% complete, with just the protruding box feature of the façade, which contains the stairwell, and the reception area to be completed. The glass in each of these areas is lighter in tint to the remainder of the façade to allow for low ion transparency and external visibility of two key architectural elements of the building. “In terms of the façade, the last piece of glass will be in place within the next seven days,” David stated. “From there we move on to the decorative work, which includes façade lighting and GRC elements.”
With approximately 770 workers on site every day, Sweid & Sweid has managed to keep the project moving forward during one of the most challenging periods in recent human history. The pandemic did have an impact on the project, but David explained that this impact was limited to procurement, and was minimised by careful selection of materials and suppliers. He said: “We have been fortunate to have remained on track during the pandemic, particularly in terms of procurement and deliveries. I understand there have been significant delays in the region in terms of material delivery, however we have been very carefully selecting materials from manufacturers that we know can supply during these challenging times. Most of the products are now here on site and are ready for fixing.”
Working closely alongside Matt Hammond (Senior Director, Head of Real Estate, Central Europe, Middle East & Africa (CEMEA) Visa), and Associate Director of real estate services firm CBRE, Mike Whitworth, David explained that both he and Sweid & Sweid’s Director of Development, Vicki Aronis, have formed a strong team that has been of great benefit to the project. “It’s been a very good part of the process for Vicki and myself to work with Matt and Mike. They have been with us in meetings, and on site each week to see the progress,” he said. “They’re very supportive and they really are enthusiastic about the building. This building will give the staff of Visa a great product and will really engage them, and therefore they should enjoy coming to work here once it’s delivered.”
As the project now enters the crucial final phase of construction, David explained that the journey thus far and the results he can see on the horizon position the Visa Headquarters Building as one of the most enjoyable projects he’s worked on. “I’ve worked on embassies, hospitals, border crossings, a 5-star hotel and a prison, but this project has been one of the most enjoyable I’ve done. It’s a very bespoke, very high-end delivery to a world class tenant, and they have been a pleasure for us to work with. As well as that, the team we have on the project have been superb. We’re fortunate to be working with some tier one contractors such as Dutco and BW Interiors, and they have really committed to the project, to driving construction forward along with ourselves to get it finished. We still have some way to go, and this last 5% is the most important, but the project is on track for completion by the end of the summer.”