AN engineer says the multi-million Long Acres Mall which is under construction in Lusaka epitomises a landmark achievement in the Zambian construction industry.
Long Acres Mall, whose client is the Public Service Pensions Fund (PSPF), was designed by GS Architects and Palm Golding as the property consultant – both Zambian companies.
The facility’s resident engineer Terrence Mukula told journalists during a tour at the construction site on Friday afternoon that Long Acres Mall was a “Zambian baby.”
“This project is being funded by PSPF – they are the main clients. The architects or designers were GS Architects – a Zambian-based construction company. Actually this, I can safely say, is the first big development which has completely been designed by Zambians – except for the hotel which has some… by South Africans. But the entire mall has been designed by Zambians. The architects are Zambians, the engineers are Zambians, the electrical/mechanical engineers are Zambians. So, it’s a pure Zambian baby designed by Zambian consultants and being supervised and managed by Zambian consultants. So, really it’s quite a milestone for our construction industry,” Mukula explained.
“The main contractor is China State Engineering Corporation – they are the biggest construction company in China and number 24 in the world. We have a shopping mall with anchor shops on either side, then we have the entertainment building, then there is a hotel and the office block. The target [period of completion] is March, 2019.”
He added that 70 per cent of the building materials were locally sourced while the remaining 30 per cent was being imported.
The mall is being constructed at an estimated cost of US $72 million.
And at a PSPF media seminar in partnership with the Media Institute for Southern Africa (MISA) Zambia on Friday, PSPF acting director for investments Matandiko Matandiko indicated that the Fund had refurbished its building along Panganani road in Lusaka into a modern shopping mall.
“For the Panganani [building], we had a warehouse and an office block; we were only getting K1.2 per month. We put up a mall which is only worth about K7 million [and] it’s giving us over K50,000 per month. Don’t you think we’ve created value for that? At the end of the day, that value is going to benefit the same members whose money we used to invest. So, ultimately what we are looking at is put in some money and make money out of that,” Matandiko noted.
Asked what the PSPF’s financial anticipation was, especially with its ambitious programme of revamping or establishing facilities and when retirees could be yearning for their benefits, Matandiko responded: “Why are we re-developing our properties or why have we put our money in some of these projects that we have? What is it that we want to achieve at the end of the day? The money that we are putting there, we are investing such that at the end of the day, we expect a return. There is income that is expected from these assets that we are developing, in order to assist us meet future obligations that we anticipate.”
Commissioning the construction of the Long Acres Mall on May 24, 2017, President Edgar Lungu, whose speech was read by then commerce minister Margaret Mwanakatwe, said the decision by the PSPF to embark on infrastructure development would in the long run benefit pensioners, serving members and beneficiaries of deceased estate.
“….embarking on this project (Long Acres Mall) will step up the institution’s investment portfolio where an estimated K50 million will be realised per annum,” said President Lungu.