15 November 2012

East Africa: Oysterbay to Host EA's Largest Shopping Mall

THE area around Oysterbay Police Station in Dar es Salaam will host the largest shopping mall chain in East Africa thanks to British born Ugandan billionaire, Ashish Thakkar of Mara Capital Group who will invest 270 million US dollars (426.6bn/-) in the project.

Police spokesman Isaac Nantanga told journalists in Dar es Salaam that the decision to allow private investment at one of the city's largest police barracks is also aimed at improving infrastructure such as housing and office space for police officers.

"Because of the huge demand of housing within the Police Force, which is estimated at 34,710 units, the Ministry of Home Affairs realized that this 24-hectare Oysterbay plot of land is ideal for investment in the quest to increase housing units. The venture will also provide a sustainable source of revenue for the force," Mr Nantanga noted.

The project will include the largest retail mall in East Africa, two international hotels, a modern convention centre, a hospital, a police station, a modern business park and residential apartments. Mr Nantanga noted that Mara Capital Group will build shopping malls, a modern hospital, a conference hall, a hotel and some office and residential apartments at the 24-hectare space owned by the Tanzania Police Force.

The investor will, however, construct 20 housing apartments at Mikocheni and 330 in Kunduchi for families currently staying at police apartments at Oysterbay, as well as a modern police station at Oysterbay, according to earlier agreements signed in June, this year. Mr Nantanga said that the Ministry of Home Affairs will ensure maximum security for all sensitive institutions in the area, including the United States Embassy.

"The government is aware of the presence of sensitive institutions in the area. The ministry will ensure there is security for those institutions and those who will conduct business in the area once the project is complete. Only legal businesses will be accommodated," he explained.

The project is set to begin in July next year once the investor has completed project designs and conducting environmental assessment, an exercise set to take 11 months. The Police Spokesperson said that once the project is completed the investor will run it for 50 years, thereafter the government will take over.

Out of the total amount of 426.6bn/- to be invested in the project 395bn/- will be for constructing commercial buildings, while 31.6bn/- will go into building the modern police station at Oysterbay and the 350 residential houses for police. Construction of the 350 homes will enable police officers staying at Oysterbay to be relocated to Mikocheni and Kunduchi to give way to the multibillion shilling project.

Currently, he noted, the Police Force needs 34,710 housing units countrywide. Mr Nantanga noted that the investor will pay the Police Force 2.76 million US dollars (4.36bn/-), yearly. The money will help the force carry out its developmental activities.

"Other benefits include, revenue for the government, employment for Tanzanians and improved services to members of the public that will be provided by the modern police station to be built," he explained. Mara Group is a 15-year-old pan-African multi-sector business conglomerate with current operations covering areas including Information Technology, real estate development, asset management and infrastructure.

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