Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
CONSTRUCTION of a $12 million shopping complex in Bulawayo’s high-density suburb of Cowdray Park by Sai Enterprises is progressing well with $2 million of the project’s total capital requirements having already been spent.
The shopping mall, whose ground-breaking ceremony was officiated by Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa in April, is expected to be complete by this time next year.
The building of the multi-million dollar complex expected to comprise a main supermarket, over 40 shops, banks, a medical service centre, fast foods outlets and parking bays began on 1 June.
When Sunday Business visited the construction site last week, a local contractor, Tzircalle Brothers, who won the tender to build the shopping mall, was busy excavating the supermarket’s basement, among other civil works. Building of the main supermarket’s basement expected to serve as a warehouse facility is expected to be complete by December.
In an interview at the construction site, Sai Enterprises proprietor, Mr Raj Modi, said they had missed the December 2017 deadline to complete the first phase of the project.
“We are not on line to meet the project’s first phase deadline because while we were excavating the ground we came across a lot of rocks. For example, where we are building the basement of the main supermarket, underneath the ground there are a lot of rocks, something we had not anticipated. We are taking a lot of time blasting the rocks, so we are almost two months behind otherwise we could have met our initial target for the project’s first phase,” he said.
Mr Modi who also owns The Wholesale Centre Liquor Hub in the central business district said they were now looking forward to seeing the first phase of their construction programme being completed early next year.
“We have spent nearly $2 million so far and we don’t have much of employment that has been created at this stage because most of the work is being done by the machines. However, we have some people that we have recruited from the local community,” he said.
Asked if they were able to cope with the construction delays on the project as a result of the imminent rain season, Mr Modi said:
“It all depends on the amount of the rains we will receive but so far we are prepared for that so we don’t anticipate any further delays on the project as a result of the rains.”
The second phase of the proposed shopping complex is expected to be completed by June next year. Sai Enterprises has entered into a Public-Private- Partnership with the Bulawayo City Council in developing a one-kilometre road from the main road in Cowdray Park to the shopping complex. In the 1990s, Mr Modi built Bellevue Shopping Complex that now houses one of the fastest growing supermarkets run by Choppies Enterprises. -@okazunga