The Construction of the long awaited multi-million pula Botswana Railways (BR) mall in Francistown has been delayed, with new commencement dates now set for 2023. Botswana Railways Property Managing Director Utlwanang Golebanye said while the state owned company had initially forecasted to kick start the project at the beginning of December 2022, there has been delays forcing the construction to be set for next year.
Botswana Railways (BR) through its subsidiary, Botswana Railways (BR) Property has signed an agreement with Time Projects Botswana, a property development company to develop a mixed used project which will entail construction of a state of the art mall in Francistown. BR owns land in Francistown measuring 11.6 hectares.
The main aim of this project is to unlock the development potential of the plot through partnership with the private sector. The envisaged development is also expected to enhance the economy of Francistown and also help diversify BR’s income. The mall will comprise of among others retail shops, offices, cinema, filling station, piazza and a football court.
Golebanye said despite the deferment, the project remains a priority and their concerted efforts will continue to make sure it is delivered within the shortest time possible.
“The forecast ground breaking during the month of December 2022 has been moved forward to a date yet to be determined in the New Year. The procurement for the main contractor has not commenced,” he said.
He however could not disclose why the project was moved to next year 2023.
He emphasized that a preliminary budget of P200 million has been planned for Phase 1 of the project which should cover about six hectares of the earmarked 11.6 hectares for the mixed use development. He further added that the plan is to have the envisaged mixed use commercial development fully developed and operating by the year 2024
The rail transport operator first made its intention to build this mall in the second city in 2014 and the project was earmarked to begin in 2017. It was postponed several times as BR was yet to identify a partner to undertake the project. According to BR, the Covid 19 pandemic also contributed to the delay of the project.
BR has since announced that it will lease the development land to the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) on a long term lease(40 years basis), the value of which will be held by the SPV as BR’s equity contribution. SPV is a subsidiary created by a parent company to isolate financial risk. BR facilitated the opening of SPV to manage the day to day operations of this upcoming project including its other mall in Gaborone, Rail Park. Time Project Botswana will contribute equity in finances, equivalent to the value of BR’s land and BR Property as the facilitator of the project from inception shall be allotted shares in consideration of the project facilitation services.