Construction of US$100m Mall of Zim set to start

CONSTRUCTION of West Properties’ US$100 million Mall of Zimbabwe is expected to start anytime after May with the completion of a tender process expected to start early next month, West Group CEO Ken Sharpe said.

Report by Taurai Mangudhla

Sharpe told businessdigest this week the property division of the diversified group plans to move on the construction site of the multi-million-dollar property in the plush Borrowdale area next month to start work.

“We are going to tender next month for most of the services and we expect adjudication to be completed in May after which construction will start immediately,” Sharpe said in a telephone interview.
“We will move on the site next month and put up a fence and start erecting billboards.”

He allayed fears the group was facing capital problems, saying it was riding on its partners for capital and technical support.

“I agree that capital is tight anywhere in the world and it would be difficult to get it in here, but we are in partnership with McCormick (Property Development) and they are the ones we are relying on for capital,” he said.

“We are using their credibility, experience, network and balance sheet to see the project through so there are no capital worries. In fact, we are on schedule on our part.”

McCormick Property Development is a South African registered company that has pioneered the development of emerging markets for nearly three decades and has completed 49 shopping centre developments to a value of over US$1 billion.

As of this week, Sharpe said, West Properties had signed 60% of the leases with tenants for the project through their South Africa leasing agent who has been in the country since February.

West group said the leases were signed earlier to give room for any major structural alterations to meet tenant specifications.

Recently, West Properties CEO Mike van Blerk said construction of the project would go ahead after the company received the green light from the country’s Environmental Management Agency (EMA) following 11 months of negotiations and making some adjustments to the initial proposed subdivision of the prime land.

West Properties’ 68 000-square -metre mall, office parks, cluster homes, residential stands, schools and medical facilities will be built on the open space between Borrowdale West and Dandaro.
Van Blerk said the project is expected to be completed in October 2014 instead of April 2014 due to delays in securing an environmental impact assessment clearance from EMA.

When completed, the mall would be the biggest mall complex in Africa outside South Africa.

The mall is said to have already attracted in excess of 170 potential tenants.