ZIMRE Property Investments (ZPI) says about 95 percent of space at its Sawanga Shopping Mall in Victoria Falls has been taken up due to the growing confidence in the upmarket project.
ZPI completed the ZWL$15 million Sawanga shopping mall project in record time this year in May, a 13 months’ journey in terms of the execution of the project, according to Edson Muvingi, ZPI managing director. It will be officially launched before the end of year.
Muvingi said the uptake was initially at 100 percent, until a “sudden drag” by Simbisa Brands, which needed to sort out some issues with its Nandos brand developed.
The mall is sitting on 1.8 hectares total area. Some of the tenants that have signed up include Pick n Pay which is the anchor tenant occupying about 2 500 square metres, Puma Service Station, Bata, NetOne, FBC Bank, Nedbank, NMB Bank, TV Sales, Adidas, Liquid Telecom and ZOL.
Muvingi also revealed that ZPI will now review leases every quarter – a move triggered by the worsening economic situation.
“As for Sawanga we are not worried,” Muvingi said. “Due to volatilities, we have now agreed on quarterly renewals in terms of rentals.”
The Sawanga project was funded largely from internal resources, with 99 percent coming from equity funds while the balance was borrowed from ZB Bank, which provided $2 million loan to go the project.
Muvingi said ZPI believes the project is a “game changer in terms of our strategy from central business district (CBD) based office occupation to retail which can absorb shocks”.
“With chaos happening in cities’ CBD, we believe this movement is worthwhile. Therefore, we have recreated Victoria Falls in a big way because this (Sawanga) becomes your concentration centre.
You compare this with what is existing in terms of current CBD of the town, one would like say it’s not safe, it’s not elite like Sawanga, it’s not good for tourists, want to avoid thieving and other bad stuff.
So, this recreation of Victoria Falls will result in the city fathers thinking of changing the structure or master plan of Victoria Falls. I believe, it’s an opportunity for them to recreate their master plan, redeveloped around this,” he said.
Sawanga Mall is named after chief Sawanga, one of the three sons of Rozvi Changamire.
The shopping mall design opens out its anchor arms as embracing features that imitate the welcoming nature of the chief.
Apart from Sawanga, ZPI has invested in student housing facility in Bulawayo’s central business district which has up to 200 bed facilities.
The firm is also planning to undertake several other projects countrywide including the proposed Selborne Park in Bulawayo, another student accommodation project, Lizard Lodge in Victoria Falls and Adylinn townhouses in Westgate, Harare.