The Gateway - Malawi's first regional shopping mall

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An artist’s impression of Malawi’s first regional shopping mall An artist’s impression of Malawi’s first regional shopping mall

Work on the R340 million, 17 500m² “The Gateway” regional retail mall in Lilongwe, destined to be the largest facility of its kind in Malawi, which began in September 2010, is on schedule for a mid-2012 completion, says Tony van Heerden, the leasing co-ordinator on the project.

Van Heerden confirms that 70% of the space has already been signed for or is currently under negotiation and he predicts that confirmed bookings will increase to 80% within the next six months.

“The Gateway” 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.  The centre is close to Lilongwe’s traditional but congested retail hub, The Old Town, but is also well placed for the city’s rapidly expanding western fringe and major road network intersections. Over one thousand parking bays and a taxi rank will be provided for the convenience of shoppers.

According to van Heerden, the new centre has been designed to ‘A’ grade institutional investment standards (including air-conditioning) and will be the most advanced mall of its kind in the greater region.

The project is owned by MPICO Malls Ltd (a subsidiary of The Malawi Property Investment Company which is quoted on the Malawian Stock Exchange and is associated with South Africa’s Old Mutual group).

In a previous announcement Dye Mawindo, MPICO’s Chairman, said that the company had taken note of the high standards achieved in South African regional retail centres and had decided that it was now appropriate to deliver to Lilongwe a complex of comparable excellence.  

The development team is made up of leading South African and international financiers, architects, engineers and contractors partnered by Malawian consultants and contractors.  Gray Nthinda, MD of MPICO, has pointed out that consistent Malawian GDP growth of approximately 7% means that this type of facility will be much in demand.

9 000m² of the new centre will be occupied by South African national retail stores.  Pick ‘n Pay, with 3 500m², will be the food anchor and 4 500m² will be occupied by South African fashion, furniture and other major retailers.

Cine City, the Zimbabwean cinema operator, will operate three 100-seater cinemas in the entertainment section of the mall, alongside the central food court, where many big names in South African and Malawian fast food retailing have signed to take space.  

The final list of food retailers is expected to include Nandos, Romans Pizza, Rhapsodys, Wimpy, Jungle Pepper Pizzas, Curry Corner, Chicken Inn, Pizza Inn, Creamy Inn and Papaya Coffee Bar, amongst others. Negotiations are also under way to have a six lane bowling alley in this entertainment area.

All of the local banks, including Standard Bank, The National Bank of Malawi, NBS, First Discount House, Indebank and Eco Bank, have either already taken or are negotiating for space.

In addition to the major SA national stores, a number of large Malawian retailers have taken space, including Malawi’s premier electrical and appliance dealer, Lords Best Collection, who have committed to 800m².  Other local tenants include clothing retailers, sports goods distributors and service providers such as cosmetic houses, dry cleaning operations and pharmacies.

The site on which The Gateway is situated has sufficient additional space for a Phase 2 development including a four star hotel, a medical centre and offices or a major stand-alone DIY retail centre.  Discussions with potential tenants are, says van Heerden, already under way.

 

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Retail Property  |  Construction Industry in South Africa  |  Property Developments in South Africa  |  Property Investment in Africa