City Council to reconstruct Harare under new  master plan

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TINASHE MAKICHI 

Harare City Council (HCC) will rebuild the capital under a new billion dollar development master plan which focuses on construction of high rise accommodation facilities and razing down of old structures, Business Times heard this week.

The new plan entails making Jason Moyo Avenue the high street of Harare complemented by a state-of-the-art shopping mall.

The move by HCC comes at a time private property companies have been remodelling use of their properties and changing the face of the city centre.

HCC town clerk Hosea Chisango told this publication that there was little room for the city to expand outwards hence the need to invest in high rise buildings and re-modelling of certain areas. “We are coming up with a master plan. We also had a master plan of
20 years ago which informed some of the shopping centres that we have today but it has not been fully implemented,” Chisango said.

He said efforts are underway to alter some old buildings in Mbare which were constructed as bachelor accommodation facilities to accommodate families. Some properties in Mbare, Chisango said, do not have ablution facilities and needed to be reconfigured to fit into the new city master plan.

“Now that the city is constrained in expanding outwards, the master plan will have to focus on expansion going upwards.  The flats we are looking at constructing in Mbare will also have workspaces underneath. We are working with financial institutions and we are looking at all forms of finance. We are looking at partnerships. We will be coming up
with an investment prospectus soon,” he said.

Major real estate players are also seeking reduction of exposure from under-performing properties in the CBD while some are pursuing change of use and mixed use as a solution.

Harare bus termini modernisation

As part of its plans to modernise traffic management, HCC has opened its proposed US$50m public transport deal to other investors as negotiations with local property developer, First Mutual Properties (FMP) appear to have stalled.

HCC had previously agreed on a deal with FMP but delays in the implementation and securing of funding has seen the city council expanding its horizons. The project entails construction of an upmarket bus terminus, shopping mall, a parking lot and office blocks
at Fourth Street bus terminus.

HCC Town Clerk Hosea Chisango said that the city council has lined up several capital projects and the fourth street project has since been opened up. Other projects lined up by HCC are the modernisation of Mbare bus terminus into a regional transport hub and construction of a civic centre along Robert Mugabe Avenue.

He said HCC was “still in serious negotiations with the proposed partners” although there have been delays in implementation.

The City Council is also expected to begin the construction of a US$40m integrated bus interchange at Chinhoyi Street Bus Terminus commonly known as Copa Cabana.

The Copa Cabana terminus will be transformed into a structure consisting of a commuter omnibus complex, shops, eateries, offices and car parks.

Reports say the City Council has partnered Cost Ham Construction Company which has ploughed in US$40m into the development.

Retail outlets comprising shops and food courts would be part of the project.

The first phase would see the construction of a pedestrian concourse for access into the complex that would have a car park with capacity to hold 510 vehicles.

In justifying the project the city notes it would reduce pressure in the central business district in terms of car parking space and that the city would receive a dividend from the investment “providing Harare City Council with financial resources for its own use”.