The construction of the N$92million Old Mutual Shopping Centre in Keetmanshoop will turn the town into an economic hub of the South. The development of a 11,000 sqm shopping complex in the Karas capital will accommodate 13 new retailers and two banks. This is the biggest retail and property investment in Keetmanshoop ever.
The development consists of a total of 11,000 m2 of space, of which 10,000 m2 is gross lettable while the remaining 1000 m2 is common area. Old Mutual has acquired a total of 58,000 m2 land for future expansion.
At completion the complex will offer 95% retail space and 5% office space. Old Mutual will leverage its own investment by being the first company to occupy some of the office space. The anchor tenant on the retail side is Shoprite.
Other retailers that have committed to the centre are Shoprite Liquor, OK Furnishers, Hungry Lion, Jet, Edgars Active, Legit, CNA, Foschini, Markhams, Exact, Mr. Price, Style Clothing and Beaver Canoe. Two commercial banks, First National Bank and Standard Bank have also undertaken to install automatic tellers at the centre.
The centre will offer 222 parking bays catering to retail clients, office tenants and customers.
According to Sakaria Nghikembua, CEO of Operations at Old Mutual, inhabitants of both the Karas and Hardap regions will do their shopping in Keetmanshoop once the centre is open with the local wealth being spent in the region.
"This way, the standards of living of the people of Keetmanshoop and the South will be improved. Thirdly, the economic activity generated by the centre is likely to have a positive impact on investor confidence, and thus lead to further investments in the town and the South by other investors," he said.
He told the Economist this week that the construction of the shopping centre which commenced last year is well on track for opening later this year.
The functional completion of the development is scheduled for September 2013 while shopfitting will be completed during October and trading is expected to begin in November 2013, in time for the 2013 Christmas season.
"Construction is proceeding very well. We are very pleased with the progress we have made so far. We have a rigorous project plan and we review progress daily. We are currently in construction phase, with the walls fast going up at the centre. A total of 150 people will be employed permanently once the shopping centre is open for business directly in the new shops as well as in companies that provide services to the centre, such as security and cleaning establishments," he said.
This is in addition to some 100 people who will be employed during the construction phase. To date, 70 people are already employed on site and this number will pick up towards 100 during July, when sub-contractors will be on site.
Speaking at the launch last year, Johannes !Gawaxab, MD: Africa Operations, said 'Not only will this development offer the biggest retail hub within the Karas Region, the reality that all tenants will be new to Keetmanshoop, offers the promise of job creation too."