Tuesday, 18 September 2012 13:13

Taurai Mangudhla, Business Writer - Daily News

HARARE - The multi-million dollar property development by West Properties, initially supposed to be a shopping mall, will also include a hospital, office park and cluster homes, businessdaily can reveal. Despite environmental concerns and resistance from surrounding residential areas and city fathers, Ken Sharpe’s West Properties says it’s going ahead with building its $100 million Mall of Zimbabwe on the wetlands situated between Dandaro and Borrowdale West. “We have a lot of new developments in the pipeline; just on the property side alone we obviously have our current projects plus a 13-hectare office site and 37 hectares of high-end residential properties adjacent to the Mall of Zimbabwe. “We have also been working on another office site close by and a middle-to-high income residential development, as well as several other exciting projects,” West Properties chief executive Mike van Blerk said in a statement on its website. He said construction of Zimbabwe’s biggest shopping mall and the largest in Africa, outside South Africa, is set to take off soon after completion of planning and architectural work. “We are still to break ground in terms of construction, but we’ve completed a great deal of the planning and architectural designs behind it, which is almost always equal in timescale to the actual building,” van Blerk said. He said the 68 000sqm closed mall set to be completed by 2014, already had a complement of 172 tenants. According to Sharpe, the company had secured the land through a PPP (Private Public Partnership) with the City of Harare. Essentially the partnership entailed the City putting in the land for development and West Group, the holding company for West Properties, West Bev and West Star, contributing the working capital, management and skills to develop the raw land. The partnership was finalised in 2007 and encompassed three key project development areas, the Warren Hills residential suburb, part of an existing golf course, the Mukuvisi commercial and industrial area and Tariro Park, a 10 000sqm cash and carry warehousing structure, service station, bus terminal and people’s market currently under development. “In 2008 we were approached by the City to construct a new highway project, linking the main central business district with Harare International Airport. Originally only a $5 million extension of the existing road, we agreed to take it on in return for being paid with ring-fenced land which we would later develop,” Sharpe said. Van Blerk said the final land barter agreement will be worth almost $68 million before taxes and the four-lane, double-highway will feature seven elevated bridge structures, one of which spans 450m and covers a railway marshalling yard.