13 October 2010

Yesterday I looked at three facilities. The first was part of an auto dealership and repair garage. The space was actually okay and definitely had potential; however, access for large trucks would be through the repair garage. Additionally, I was concerned about the environmental surroundings given the repair garage (lots of exhaust, oil, grease, etc.). Finally, in a brief meeting with the owner, it was apparent that he had no interest in making any investments in the property. So, on to the next property.

Property number two was ruled out in about 15 seconds. Not only was the size about 1/3 of what we need, the building was not complete and the compound appeared to be in use as a trash facility. I’m not really sure why the real estate person decided to show me this property, but with each successive location he becomes much more knowledgeable about what I’m really looking for.

The third property was a large company with several buildings that was auctioned about 10 years ago and is currently owned by a local businessman. The former business is not operational, but the owner uses a few of the buildings for storage. A few of the larger buildings on the property have potential, and we’re setting up an appointment with the owner for next week.

Two days ago I looked at one other property. This particular company owns about eight acres but is only using about two. The general manager thought that we might want to build on some of the empty land. The location is fairly good, but infrastructure is completely lacking and several months away. Additionally, large power lines go right over where he thought we could put the factory. I don’t think that will work for several reasons.

There is an existing food production facility that is currently being used as a distribution center. I hope to meet the general manager next week to discuss options for the facility. It seems to me that they could find a better-suited facility to use for distribution and then lease the food production facility to MANA. And I bet they would come out ahead financially.

This afternoon I have a meeting with the Health Team at USAID to discuss Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) in health programs. I’m also working on securing meetings with the Director General at the Rwanda Bureau of Standards (which announced a big restructuring a few days ago) and with the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Health.

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