Dumisani Nsingo, Senior Business Reporter
A consortium of local businesspeople has started work on the estimated $2 billion up-market satellite town project located on the outskirts of the City of Bulawayo.
Thompson Properties managing director Mr Jonathan Thompson said the first stage of the project had begun with the servicing of residential stands whose size range from 500 square metres to more than 1 000 under Phase I of the project at the new Hopeville suburb, just after Umguza River along the City-Joshua Mqabuko International Airport Road.
Thompson Properties was contracted by the consortium as an agent to oversee the project. The entire project, which can be equated to Kempton Park in neighbouring South Africa, would see the construction of 20 000 plush and affluent houses, up-market shopping malls as well as state-of-the-art recreational facilities.
The infrastructural development programme would be carried out in three stages with stage one which is estimated to cost more than $100 million comprising homes, a shopping complex, gymnasium, library, three schools, local authority offices as well as land reserved for the construction of churches.
“We started serious work on the first phase of the project in December and we should be completing by the end of this month. We got permission to get compliance certificate for phase one so that beneficiaries can get title deeds and other requisite documents and once we have completed doing the structures and construction we will move to the other phases as well,” said Mr Thompson.
He said Phase I would comprise cluster houses, garden flats, gated communities, duplex houses as well as individually designed houses as per council requirement based on the location of the property.
“Some of them we will be build for beneficiaries while some will build for themselves. There are some people that are coming in to build cluster houses, we don’t know what they want to do with them, whether they are going to sell them or lease them out,” said Mr Thompson.
“When the investors of the project came to me I said because of what has happened with contractors and developers in Bulawayo and the country as a whole over the years, the biggest thing they could do was to build the confidence of the people by financing the servicing (of stands) themselves and not to finance the servicing with sales,” said Mr Thompson.
Phase II and the entire residential housing project would see the construction of selected models such as garden flats, cluster houses and town houses.
“Once we pass Phase I which the public will have more control of, the rest of it we will develop ourselves. We want to build a range of different types of homes . . . a lot of them will be market driven. So whatever we see being bought from the first and second phase we will probably develop more of that into the other phases as well . . . We actually have four secured villages plans in the second phase . . . ,” said Mr Thompson.
He said there was an overwhelming interest in the housing concept from a number of companies and diasporans.
“We’ve got a lot of interest in the concept from Australia, South Sudan, South Africa and England. Some of them come home from time to time and others will be leasing the property and wait until they retire back to Bulawayo . . . we’ve been doing quite a lot of road shows going to companies and speaking to their employees so that they come in and buy,” said Mr Thompson.
He also said a number of building societies had also shown interest to come on board and support the project. Stage two of the project would entail a golf course, gigantic shopping mall, industrial park, offices, state-of-the-art clinic and a number of sporting fields while stage three would be made up of more residential houses, churches and shopping centres.
“We want to see the economy growing, that’s why this project is being financed by locals, not foreigners. We want people to see that this is a place where investment is possible,” said Mr Thompson.