Saturday, October 31, 2020

Bifm tenses its muscle in property market

Victor Senye, the sole Botswana Insurance Holding Limited (BIHL) manager at large, used body and financial weight this week to silence his peers in the property market as the group launched the beginning of the construction of a multi-million pula project.

Senye is part of the country’s financial sector’s cream following a very prolific career as he jerked up Botswana Insurance Fund Management from P 8 billion to P 17 billion between now and the time he got the reigns from Sanjeev Gupta.

In an exclusive interview with the Sunday Standard, he said the group’s proposed shopping centre, to be called the Airport Junction, will house top of the household namesÔÇöthe majority of them having signed leases up to 10 years.

The project, which is to cost P 460 million, will be funded 50/50 by Bifm and Eris Property Group, a multi-billion property development company from South Africa.

The project is seating on 36000 m2 of land, whose anchor tenants include Builders World Warehouse, which will seat on 6000 m2 piece of land. Some of the anchor tenants are Spar, Shoprite and the Edgars Group but they will be supported by national tenant (smaller one) with leases of up to five years.

“This is an equal venture,” Senye, head of BIHL regional property division, said.

Senye has pioneered a number of property projects in the country and of late has been involved in a number of PPP projects, including the construction of the trail-blazing Southern African Development Community headquarters.

He said his new development is aimed at transforming the Gaborone landscape and will try by all means to improve the accessibility of the centre, in and out, by constructing some new and up to date roads. He aims to have the centre as the link to Sir Seretse Khama International Airport and the A 1 road that connects Gaborone and the northern part of the country.

“We’ll be having food outlets, hardwares, fashion shops and furniture shops. Some of the shops will be their first debut in this country,” he added.

“We hope that our tenants will provide the best quality to make them successful since most of the outlets in the country do not do that,” Senye said.

So far, the Airport Junction Centre has signed up to 80 percent of leases to the space but has since slowed down in the process to avoid a situation where they will crowd out the most deserving ones.

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