While many investors voted against Zimbabwe with their feet in 2008 leaving the country when its economy was on its knees, for them it was the right time to invest.
Now they dream of building the biggest shopping mall in Africa, outside South Africa, in Harare’s up market Borrowdale suburb.
West property, Augur Investments and McCormick Property Development, are dreaming of building a $ 100 million Shopping Mall in Zimbabwe.
Although the controversial project is facing resistance from Borrowdale residents and environmentalists, Jason McCormick, Managing Director of McCormick Property Development, told Radio VOP that, “it’s a juggernaut that cannot be stopped.”
The project is set for a ground breaking ceremony later this year.
Ken Sharpe of Augur Investments said the, “project is the largest commercial development ever in Zimbabwe.”
When complete the project will see the creation of a $100 million shopping centre made up of over 150 retail outlets occupying 68 000 square metres of space and catering for thousands of shoppers every day.
The mall will be situated along Borrowdale Road, opposite the famous Borrowdale Race Course. Before it has even taken off the ground the Mall of Zimbabwe has already attracted significant tenants and some of them are the big South African retailers.
“The Mall of Zimbabwe will be modeled along Cape Town’s V and A Waterfront. It will have up market restaurants and has already attracted tenants such as ShopRite, Pick and Pay, Spar, Woolworths, Edgars, Truworths, Game and Mr Price,” said McCormick.
The Mall of Zimbabwe will only open its doors in October 2014. It will consist of a closed air-conditioned regional mall made up of shops, restaurants, banks, fast food outlets, and other recreational facilities. It is estimated that 4000 jobs will be created by the project.
The Mall of Zimbabwe is being developed on a site acquired by Augur Investments in terms of a controversial barter trade deal between the Government of Zimbabwe and Augur Investments which augur is financing the design and construction of the Harare Main airport highway.
The tri-partite investment partners say they used their gut feelings to decide to sink their money into Zimbabwe.
“While everyone was running away from Zimbabwe, we used our gut feelings to invest, we sought the local knowledge and we felt it was time to put money into the country,” said McCormick.
He said they were impressed by what they saw and never looked back on investing in a country still considered by some investors as a no go area.
They have big plans too.
“We want to spread our property development to other parts of the country. In fact we also want to bring the town to the rural areas,” said McCormick.
Although they have faced resistance and accusations of cutting corners with their investment, the tri-partite investors remain unfazed by that talk.
“We have the backing of the President, Prime Minister and cabinet ministers because they understand what we are trying to do for Zimbabwe and we obey the laws of the country,” said McCormick.
In the meantime they are concentrating on putting up more construction cranes on the skylines of Harare and help keep the resurgent economy ticking.