DEVELOPMENT work at Fidelity Life Assurance (Fidelity)’s US$20 million Southview Park high density residential stands project along the Masvingo highway has been exeedingly delayed beyond expectation after the Harare City Council ordered a series of amendments to the initial site plan, businessdigest has learnt.
Highly placed sources say Fidelity’s new site plan, which was developed after the company changed the area’s land use from low density to high density residential, has been amended a number of times, but is yet to be approved due to council’s bureaucracy.
The sources revealed council procedure requires the plan to go through various departments including those of engineering, health and road construction for scrutiny before approval.
When Fidelity unveiled the project in December 2012, the company hoped the new site plan would be approved by early January to allow commencement of development work which MD Simon Chapereka at the time said would take between 15 and 18 months to complete before any construction can take place.
Contacted for comment this week, Chapereka confirmed the plan was yet to be approved although he said the delay was more to do with the technical requirements of the project and not either party’s operations.
“I think it should be expected that for such a big project it takes a longer time to go through all the technical requirements,” he said.
Chapereka said the site plan could be approved anytime as his company had made all the necessary amendments as per council directive.
He said council requested the company to add more public facilities like schools, water supply infrastructure and commercial land.
“We have been asked to add another primary school which we have done so we now have one secondary school and a commercial stand,” Chapereka said.
“We have also been requested to look into the issues of a reservoir which we have rectified.”
The initial site plan had six primary schools, two secondary schools, six crèches, one community hall, five churches, 14 flats, two commercial centres, one office space and one police station.
The Southview Park project is key to the group’s growth strategy with Chapereka last month announcing the company’s future plans hinged on its success and a micro-banking unit which it is keen to set up.
Chapereka told analysts during the group’s annual results briefing for the period to December 2012, the Southview Park project has potential to generate US$60 million revenue and is key to the group’s future expansion.
“We have laid a firm foundation for expansion and we feel the Southview Park project will be able to fund group expansion going forward,” he said.
He said high density property development had higher return on investment than low density.
Chapereka added the company had sold 425 stands from deposits and a few for cash out of the 5 950 stands averaging 240 square metres at US$9 250 per stand.