Developers of the ecstatic Masa Centre that will house a mix of retail, financial sector companies and four star hotel expect to deliver it before the end of the year despite challenges.
At a guided tour exclusive to Sunday Standard this week, the local talent at the centre was at its best, especially that the project’s site agent is a young Motswana who has designed former President Festus Mogae’s retirement house in Phakalane and Barclays Bank branch in Palapye.
The building is also built by the local labour force of 450 people who come from the local contractors and sub contractors.
Guido Giachetti, group Managing Director of the listed property group RDC Properties, revealed that the ICC contract was to complete the project by July, but there were delays with the approval of the rooms.
“We are still targeting end of August; but there is still a challenge,” said Giachetti during the site visit.
Masa Centre joins other projects coming up at the ambitious Central Business District (CBD) that is expected to change the landscape of the City of Gaborone altogether.
It will rival other centers, including Game City, Main Mall and the newly built Fairgrounds Financial Centre.
The developers say they want to make the center a place where ‘people meet people’.
The centre will house a four star hotel group, restaurants, Capital Entertainment Centre (cinema) with 3D movie house with several theaters, boutiques ,jewellery shops and reputable companies in the financial services space.
It will also feature a spacious and secure underground parking that will be managed by a South African company.
A 10-year lease agreement has been signed with African Sun Limited (ASL) that will operate a 155 roomed four star hotel, Holiday Inn that will also increase the number of quality rooms in the city that is hit by room shortages.
The mock-up room from the hotel that was shown to Sunday Standard reveals that the hotel will give competition to others already in the market.
The centre will also have travel agencies, jewellery store, cr├¿che, swimming pool on the third floor, spa facilities, BotswanaPost with 5000 post boxes, mix use restaurants and other service oriented retailers.
Reputable franchises that will feature at the square include one that has presence in Dubai, Australia, South Africa and London.
The idea behind the Masa Centre is to have a building centered around a square with a five meter glass in the middle.
The center is being developed through a partnership of local companies RDC Properties (53 percent ) and consortia of local companies Lavika with 30 percent , Shakawe (17.5 percent ) and Keboife Holdings with 2.5 percent stake in the project.
Its works will cost P325 million.
RDC Properties, which is listed on Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE), has had other joint ventures, including the one it had with Shakawe, to develop Tholo Park at Fairgrounds in Gaborone.
The company is also involved in Chobe Marina Lodge in Kasane, Mebala Center and Standard Chartered House in the Main Mall. It also has investments in Madagascar.
Masa Centre comes at a time when the CBD has seen the development of the SADC headquarters by Bongwe consortium that included Bifm, Stocks and Stocks Botswana and Outsourcing Botswana CBD on plot 54385 measuring 11343 square meters.
Other projects are the The Square Mart, upcoming High Court buildings, Industrial Court and office space developed by Exponential, a consortium of local business people.
To make access easier for the consumers, the developers have been promised by the authorities that there will be entrance to the CBD from Independence Avenue, possibly before the end of the year and that will be followed by Khama Crescent fly-over Nelson Mandela highway access in about two years time.
The other long term plan to link up the CBD is to do the Khama Crescent flyover. Despite Masa Centre coming up, there are still empty plots at the CBD, but Giachetti says that should not be a concern.
He said that there are a number of projects coming up within a year.