Malawi’s commercial property listed firm, Mpico Limited, says its Gateway Shopping Mall in Lilongwe ,which will cost 410 million rand (about K16.4 billion) when completed, is currently 70 percent complete and is scheduled to open end September this year.
Initially, the project, whose launch took place in August 2010, was earmarked for completion by October 2012, but was postponed due to the foreign exchange scarcity which gripped the economy at that time.
But in May 2012, the company announced that the completion of the 18 000 square metre mall was further postponed to mid-last year but never materialised on account of foreign exchange challenges.
But speaking exclusively to Business Review on Tuesday, Mpico Limited managing director Peter du Plessis said the project has progressed very well, saying 70 percent in terms of construction has been completed.
“We hope to open at the end of the third quarter [July to September] of 2014 and this is end September or early October 2014,” he said.
Du Pessis said the Malawi Stock Exchange (MSE)-listed company is engaging both local contractors and consultants and promised to engage local security guarding companies and local landscaping firms once the mall opens, to create employment for Malawians.
He said the company estimates that it will have spent 410 million rand once the project complete.
The project is being financed by both local and international financial institutions.
“There is a lot of detailed work that has been involved at the mall. We wanted to do it properly and we think in the next six months we should finish up the project,” said Du Plessis.
The mall is being constructed in an area currently experiencing rapid middle and upper income resident growth in the low density suburb of Area 47 in Lilongwe.
It is strategically located along the Lilongwe-Mchinji Road so that that the shopping centre should be easily accessible to shoppers from Zambia, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, according to Mpico Limited officials.
Quizzed to comment on the performance of the company in general, the Du Plessis said the company is registering strong performance and forecast real growth in its rental income as demand for office space continues to grow.