By Jemima Beukes
November 2011
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Tulungeni Property Developers (TPD) are finally doing good on their promise since their announcement five years ago; to build a lucrative shopping mall worth a staggering N$230m in the Funky Town suburb of Khomasdal which is now due to be completed by November 2012.

According to the managing director of TDP, Karen Woermann, they could only build the current Hypermarket which turned out to be a miniature version of the shopping mall upon completion. This was due to the weakened financial market which subsequently plunged the South African economy into recession.

Says Woerman: “We only built the Hypermarket because of the economic downturn in South Africa. People need food, not clothes... we waited for the market to recover so that we could build this mall.”

The mall which will be the first of its kind in this area, was inspired by the Art Deco style which is a common trend in Miami. The new building will be painted in 27 different colours to represent the diverse and jovial community in the Funky Town suburb as noted by Woermann. Furthermore, the land, which is charged N$ 105 per square meters, stretches over 22 000 square meters. The building will be decorated with neonlights to lend a funky and upbeat look in the evenings.

“People who live in the Funky Town community are colourful and very jolly people; that is how we picked the design of the building,” says Woermann with a smile.

According to her, palm trees will be planted in and around the mall to lighten up the otherwise dull look of the Khomasdal suburb which has no greenery in sight. The trees will also lend a relaxing atmosphere to the building as well as clean the air.

To accommodate the lame and disabled, ramps and elevators will be installed while the restrooms are specially designed to cater for all levels of ability. Additionally, the centre will provide ample parking indoors and outdoors as well as a taxi rank. Woermann further noted that this will be the biggest development this area has ever seen since Independence.

Khomas Grove Mall, as derived from the Khomas region, will be serving the Hochland Park, Rocky Crest, Khomasdal, Otjomuise, Windhoek West as well as the Katutura suburbs.

“This is the biggest property development these areas are yet to witness since Independence and Khomas Grove promises to offer its clients more than just the ordinary. This is where the new white collar employees resides, with most of them working in the banks,” notes Woermann.

The mall will house all the commercial banks in Namibia as well as Truworths, Mr. Price, a few online clothing shops, The Namibian Police, Fruit and Veg, a hardware store and many more shops.

According to Woermann, the Khomasdal community always complains about the high crime rate in the area, hence the decision to have Nampol in the building. Nampol will be using offices on the premises without having to pay for office space but will be responsible for the sanitation and electricity costs.

But what is a jolly building without proper entertainment? That is why the Khomas Grove also themed the Naughty Forties, will provide a platform for local entertainers as well as housing cinemas.

“It will be a three-storey shopping complex as well as the basement parking area. We are looking at 3D IMAX cinemas with a double volume movie house. We will make a huge guitar and hang it on the wall like that old car in the current Woermann Hypermarket. Our customers will be entertained by live bands while they do their shopping,” says Woermann.

The mall, which according to Woermann, is estimated to be a few billion dollars’ worth upon completion, has already attracted a lot of prospective tenants.

“We have had a lot of requests from people who want office spaces in our building. Without any advertising, we are already sold out. And now two months into construction, we have signed up all suppliers,” she says with a smile.

She also notes that construction so far, has been loan-free with all expenses covered with funds generated from the company reserves. Woermann is also convinced that this new development will not only push up the value of surrounding property but will certainly provide quality employment to members of the community.

“We are looking at companies which are in a position to operate on these premises for a long time in order to avoid a high turnover of tenants. Full banks will be available on the premises with Nedbank being the smallest which will provide jobs to people in the area.” she asserted.

In the mean time, constructions are being faciliated by the Chinese under the watchful eye of Zheng Jiang Construction Company.

“Nine People tendered but Zheng Jiang were the cheapest and they have a good reputation. We have an arrangement with them that only 10% of the workforce must be Chinese because these are skilled staff and the remaining 90% must be strictly Namibian,” says Woermann.

She adds that her personal assistant is on the site everyday monitoring the building and making sure that the agreement is adhered to.

The Tulungeni Property Developers is entirely a Namibian owned company of which 95% of its shareholders are women and 27 of these shareholders are orphans. PF