HomeBusiness DigestOld Mutual shortlists 10 for Borrowdale property

Old Mutual shortlists 10 for Borrowdale property

Roadwin Chirara

OLD Mutual has shortlisted potential tenants for its multi-billion-dollar property development at the Borrowdale Race Course.

ans-serif”>The company is said to have received more than 10 keen tenants whom it has recommended to its partner in the project, Mashonaland Turf Club.

The development, undertaken by John Sisk mainly, consists of offices.

Old Mutual chief property manager, Kumbulani Chikomo, confirmed the company had already identified prospective tenants for the office park development. Chikomo said the development of the office complex was progressing as scheduled and that the company expected its first tenants in September.

“The Borrowdale Race Course project is on schedule and is now available for tenants, we expect occupation around September. There are keen inquiries from more than 10 large tenants, including four listed companies,” Chikomo said.

“Shortlisted tenants have been recommended to Mashonaland Turf Club,” said Chikomo.

He said the company’s vacancy levels were acceptable as they were within the prescribed rate of 4,29%, which is far below the unacceptable levels of 10% for property companies.

Chikomo said Old Mutual had no industrial properties to let and office vacancies were only in the central business district after a majority of tenants moved to office parks.

“The average vacancy levels of our portfolio is 4,29%, there is currently no industrial space available for letting and retail space is hard to come by especially in the CBD,” said Chikomo.

“Vacancies are largely in the CBD office premises where there has been an exodus by tenants to suburban locations citing problems of parking and security,” Chikomo said.

“However, the trend seems to be reversing with increasing inquiries for CBD space,” said Chikomo.

He justified Old Mutual’s pricing rate of between $3 million and $6 million for suites of 100 square metres saying the company provided quality properties for its tenants.

“Our asking rentals for premises are very competitive compared to market and conditions, most of our properties are provided with amenities such as parking, air-conditioning, security and cleaning services for the convenience of our clients,” said Chikomo.

“This commercial rent is less than would be payable for similar sized residential accommodation. With the high construction costs and interest rates it is much cheaper to rent than to buy or worse still to build,” Chikomo said.

He said the company’s plans to have a single tenant for its recently renovated property, Livingstone House, had failed.

“The refurbishment programme was successfully completed in March and letting was stayed at the time to accommodate a large tenant resulting from a merger that was imminent,” said Chikomo.

Chikomo said the company was now looking at other tenants such as small-to-medium-sized companies.

“The availability of the building at this point in time is opportune as there are increasing inquiries from small-to-medium-sized business concerns for which the building is adaptable,” Chikomo said.

Livingstone House was recently renovated at a total cost of $7,6 billion and is still vacant.

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