SA partner warms up to Mall of Zimbabwe



Retail development concern McCormick Property Development is warming up to the US$100m Mall of Zimbabwe, the country’s first fully enclosed, air conditioned regional shopping mall expected to come off the ground this year.

McCormick is partnering with WestProp in this mega project, which will have 90,000m² gross lettable area upon completion.

WestProp CEO Ken Sharpe said they recently received a team from McCormick

“They were our original partners in the Mall of Zimbabwe. They had not understood what was happening on the ground, that the economy is really growing. They were confident enough to say they were committed to the project and we will get off the ground this year.  There will be more news coming from this front,” Sharpe said.

He said McComick had not been in Zimbabwe for many years as they were “busy building their business in South Africa”.

“They have now listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange as Exemplar. They have over 60 malls they own. They built over 90 to date,” Sharpe said.

The construction of the Mall of Zimbabwe will be by the McCormick Property Development Group, a highly experienced and respected shopping centre developer in Southern Africa.

The Mall of Zimbabwe is touted as a major catalyst for economic growth for Zimbabwe with over 3,000 direct and indirect jobs that will be created as well as downstream industries and businesses that will be positively affected by this single largest real estate foreign direct investment in decades.

The tenants will be a mix of international and local retailers.

The warming up of McComick to the Mall of Zimbabwe project comes as Sharpe recently told Business Times that WestProp would proceed with its projects despite an under subscription of its initial public offering.

Its initial public offering raised US$3.3m out of the required US$30m to fast track the completion of pipeline projects.

“Fortunately, we didn’t need the capital to start a business but to continue the business,” Sharpe said.

He said the listing was not there to change the projection of where we are going as a company “because we are still committed to the projects that we have”.

“We have currently 5 ongoing projects, projects like Millennium Heights Block 3, it is the third block of the development at Millennium Heights. We are now on the second floor and we are accelerating that project for completion from next year in March to before the end of this year,” Sharpe said.

He said the company was confident that the team could build at the pace of one floor per month. Block 3 has 112 units. Sales for Block 4 have started and construction would start at the end of the year, Sharpe said.

“We will even start selling Block 5 this year, which is another 100-plus units. I think in terms of the journey of Millennium Heights, which is 1000 units, we can say we are 30% completed with Block 3,” he said.

The property tycoon said WestProp would continue with that project regardless of the capital raise that is required from the preference shares.

Sharpe said the projects are self-funding and the confidence in the products is there.

“It is the confidence in the offering that we need from the market and that is dependent on the pension funds, stock brokers, funds that are available (liquidity in the market) in the capital markets for the listed shares that we want to reintroduce in preference shares,” he said.

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