New complex – a gateway to Africa
Old Mutual African subsidiary launches $40 million retail centre in Malawi
CONSTRUCTION of a new regional s h o p p i n g c e n t re i n L i l o n g we, Malawi will begin this month.
Malawi Property Investment Company Ltd (MPICO), the locally listed and largest property developm e n t c o m p a ny i n M a l aw i , announced recently that it is developing a $40 million (R302.40m), 18 000m² shopping centre development in the western suburbs of Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi.
The development is financed by M P I C O, t h e N a t i o n a l B a n k o f Malawi and two major international financial institutions. An experienced South African development team comprising developers, financiers, professional designers, engineers and contractors will be managing the development and construction of the project for MPICO.
Explaining the thinking behind this project, Dye Mawindo, the c h a i r m a n o f M P I C O, s a i d : “Lilongwe has a population of just under one million and has overtaken Blantyre as the country’s largest city and fastest growing urban region. Being centrally situated, it is perfectly positioned to serve as a gateway to the whole of Central Africa, including Zambia, Mo zambique, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.
“The new complex, which will be called The Gateway, is strategically located at the important intersection of the north/south Kaunda Road western bypass and the main east/west Mchinji highway leading from Lilongwe to Zambia. It is only a short distance from the congested Lilongwe Old Town.
“The Gateway is on a prime, highly visible site in an area which is experiencing rapid middle and upper income residential growth,” says Mawindo.
Gray Nthinda, MPICO’s managing director says: “Having operated in Malawi since 1972, MPICO is committed to the sustainable, long-term growth of the economy. We continue to deliver value to our clients, shareholders and communities in this country and this property investment is a tangible example of that.”
Malawi, with a population of almost 14 million has had a fairly stable economy based mainly on agriculture, especially tobacco, tea and coffee in recent years. It has faced up to the global recession relatively well, and in the last three years has achieved an annual growth rate of seven percent or more.
MPICO’s instruction to the development managers following detailed market research was to create a regional centre, the first in Malawi, with institutional investment grade finishes of a standard comparable to similar centres in South Africa.
The centre will have a 12 x 150m long, 12m wide retail mall which most of the shops will face, with 3m high glazed shop fronts. Skylights will emphasise the double volume spaces. The outward facing food court overlooks the landscaped car park which will cater for more than 1 100 vehicles providing six bays for each 100m² of space. The plans make allowance for a standalone petrol station and drive-up food outlet.
Mawindo said greening features were being used “from initial planning through construction and the eventual ongoing management of the completed mall”.
The centre will accommodate about 80 retail outlets anchored by a 3 500m² Pick n Pay supermarket in a strategic position in the mall to ensure maximum exposure for each of the other tenants. The supermarket will stock food, clothing and small appliances.
Many other big brand SA chains will be taking space, along with Malawian banks, subsidiaries of South African banks, service providers and local retailers. The restaurants and fast food outlets in the food court will be complemented by a cinema complex with three cinemas, each with about 100 seats.
“Earthworks for the new centre will start this month and the main construction will commence about three months later. As Malawi experiences heavy summer rainfall, the construction programme provides for the roof to be in place by November,” says Mawindo.
The official opening is scheduled for October 2011.
The design allows for a second phase which will increase the size to 24 000m² as well as a six-storey tower block which will probably be occupied by a hotel and medical suites.
The South African architect on the project is Stauch Vorster Inc, a leading firm of retail architects, which has in-depth experience in major retail centre design throughout Africa. He is working with Malawian architects, Kanjere and Associates.
It is expected that about 30 percent of the total development cost will be sourced in Malawi, and where possible, local materials will be used.
Tony van Heerden, who is co-ordinating the letting of space in the development, says that about 70 percent of the space is under negotiation. Anton Bieber, of Broll Malawi, who is based in Blantyre, is assisting with the leasing of stores to local Malawian retailers. Call Tony van Heerden on +27 83 325 3987 or e-mail email@example.com. Call Anton Bieber on +265 99 996 8855 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
PRIME SITE:An artist’s impression of the $40 million regional shopping centre in Lilongwe, designed by Stauch Vorster Inc and developed by Malawi Property Investment Company Ltd.