The Gateway Malawi’s biggest retail centre ‘on track’ to open 2013

Development of Malawi’s new 17 500m² retail shopping centre, The Gateway, is on track, scheduled to open in March 2013

Construction of the new US$ 45 million (ZAR 336 million) Gateway regional shopping centre in Lilongwe, Malawi – the largest ever in the country – is moving rapidly to completion, says Ken Barker of TCI Group lead developers of the centre for the owners of MPICO Ltd.

“We expect the official opening to take place in March 2013. To date most of the structure is complete. Work on tenant fittings is on track to begin in June this year.”

The new 17 500m² centre is being developed by MPICO Ltd, the Malawi stock exchange listed property investment company.  MPICO is a subsidiary of Old Mutual PLC.

An artist's impression of the interior of the 17 500m² Gateway regional shopping centre in Lilongwe, Malawi.

The development team comprises leading South African development, financial, architectural, engineering, quantity surveyors, professionals and contractors working in collaboration with Malawian colleagues.  Some 95% of the construction team is made up of local Malawians.

Barker said that “The Gateway” had caught the imagination of South African retail chains, most of whom, he said, are making expansion into Africa a top priority in the next decade.

“Those who miss out now on these new growth areas,” he said, “may find it difficult to catch up later.”

The anchor tenant in the new centre will be Pick n Pay for whom this is another step in their African expansion programme (the group already operates in Zambia and Mozambique).

Izak Joubert, director of property and store development at Pick n Pay, has said that he sees “enormous” potential in Malawi and the immediate sub-region and the new superstore for which they have secured the anchor position against strong competition – and it will complement their Zambian and Mozambique operations, both of which are proving successful.

Francois Rabie, CEO of Broll Properties (Malawi) said that some 60% of the space will probably be occupied by South African chains with the remaining space let to leading successful local retailers in Malawi, Zambia, Kenya, Tanzania and the region.

“Anyone who knows Lilongwe will recognise that this development is a first of its kind in Malawi.  Its large light-filled air-conditioned malls, decorated with plant boxes, its big food court and three cinemas, are all firsts for the city.”

The complex has the additional advantage of being energy efficient and in this respect also sets a new trend in Malawi.

Marc Edwards of Spire Property Management, who is handling lease arrangements in South Africa, has pointed out that the new complex is “brilliantly” positioned because it is sited in Malawi’s fast-growing middle class western suburbs on the intersection of the North-South Kaunda Road western bypass and the main East-West Mchinji Highway which links Lilongwe with Zambia.

SOURCE; SA Commercial Prop News

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