Joina Centre property manager Kevin Smith said the use of foreign currency had increased the rate at which they had made progress in completing the building.
“The use of foreign currency has catapulted this business,” he said. “We can now pay people real money. The building was 60% complete but with the use of foreign currency it is now 95 % complete.”
He said the economic crisis the country faced in the last 10 years had been an obstacle to the completion of the project that began in 1997.
Smith said the hyperinflationary environment did not allow them to plan as contractors and pay workers their wages.
This, he said, was worsened by loss of skilled labour which migrated to South Africa to work in construction companies awarded tenders for this year’s soccer World Cup in South Africa in June.
“The loss of skilled manpower was a major problem for us. Every time we would come back from a break in construction, we would lose between 50 – 70% of our staff. South Africa has taken almost all of our labour force,” Smith said.
The construction of the building, which is estimated to cost US$70 million dollars, would instil confidence in the market, he said.
“Opening on March 26 shows our commitment as Joina and we expect the same commitment from the tenants, contractors and the public,” Smith said.
The complex will comprise 66 retail stores, including four cinemas, a gym, all the major banks as well as 16 office floors.
Smith revealed that only the retail section of the complex would be opened next Friday with the office tower expected to start operating in May.
He said President Robert Mugabe and the Saudi Arabian Prince Al Waleed Bin Talal were expected to officially open the complex in August.
The Joina Centre complex is the brainchild of the late architect Vernon Mwamuka who spent two years researching on the concept of building it.