Innocent Ruwende Senior Reporter
At least 75 percent of space at the West Properties’ US$100 million Mall of Zimbabwe to be constructed in the upmarket suburb of Borrowdale in Harare has already been taken up even before the project has taken off, Augur Investments chairman Mr Ken Sharpe has said.
Mr Sharpe said construction would start as soon as they finalised talks with tenants some of whom were still coming up with their requirements.
He said the Environmental Management Agency had approved the project on condition that they maintained a central wetland core.
“Planning has taken most of the time,” said Mr Sharpe. “About 75 percent of the tenants are signed up. We hope to finalise talks in the coming weeks. Leases were signed earlier to give room for any major structural alterations to meet tenants’ specifications.”
Mr Sharpe said McCormick Property Development their partners in the project have more than 30 years’ experience in constructing shopping malls, having constructed at least 48 malls around Africa.
Among the tenants who have taken space at the envisaged mall are South African retail giants Shoprite, Edgars, Truworths, Game and Mr Price.
The Zimbabwe Mall, which Mr Sharpe said is going to be the second largest in Africa, would create thousands of jobs for Zimbabweans as well as contribute 8 percent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product.
The construction of the project was stalled in its initial stages after EMA opposed the idea, but Mr Sharpe said the intervention of the City of Harare resulted in them getting the development permits.
Augur Investments got the land following a barter deal with the Government of Zimbabwe following the company’s financing, designing and construction of the Joshua Nkomo Express Highway leading from the city to the Harare International Airport.