Despite the current economic constraints, the biggest Mall in East Africa is to be constructed in Kampala.
This was revealed at the sod-turning ceremony held in Nsambya where the mall is to be constructed.
The mall is being funded by STANLIB Asset Management Limited in partnership with city advocate Charles Odere, who provided the land for the project.
STANLIB’s first property development in Uganda, the Arena Mall will be a 14,000-square meter shopping centre located at the intersection of two major thoroughfares – Kibuli and Nsambya roads.
Situated barely three kilometres south of the city’s central business district, on a steeply rising slope, The Arena Mall will offer breath-taking panoramic views of the city scape and surrounding Nakasero. Designed with two levels of enclosed shopping space and a rooftop cinema, entertainment and restaurant space atop two levels of structured basement parking, the mall is projected to be the destination for high quality retail, leisure and entertainment.
According to Knight Frank Uganda Managing Director, Judy Rugasira Kyanda, 50% of the space of the mall has already been booked.
Among those that have already booked space on the mall include; Shoprite, a wide variety of shops such as Cafesserie, Aristoc Booklex, Timberland, and Century Cinemax.
“The Arena Mall site is easily accessible from the CBD through Kibuli Road on the north, Nsambya Road to the west, and Gaba Road from various southern suburbs. In close proximity of the site are the American embassy, Nsambya Hospital, the Kampala International University, Uganda Military Police Barracks, and a number of prominent schools, public offices, shopping & entertainment centres.
“The Mall should be a welcome addition to the south-east suburbs, which are largely underserved by formal retail and leisure facilities. Over 87,000 households and 334,000 people reside within a 1km radius of the site, but there exists a dearth of quality, formal retail offerings in the catchment area, despite the annual population growth rate of 3.6% and a concentration of middle income households in this region.”
Reacting to the current economy that has left many malls in town unoccupied, Knight Frank’s head of retail in East Africa, Marc Du Toit blamed this on limited research by mall owners.
“Limited research has led to the collapse of many businesses and malls. Majority of these malls are either not built for the market they are in or they are not functional. It has been a 5 year wait for us. It’s one of the best shopping malls in not only Uganda but the whole region,” he said.
The Mall opening is expected by September 2019.
Odere said the biggest challenge to the project was finding investors since no bank in the country had the funds needed to facilitate the project.
The project is expected to cost $50 million covering for the cost of the land, construction, financing fees and professional fees.
Standard Bank through its sister bank, Stanbic Bank will contribute 50% of this while STANLIB will contribute the remaining 50%.
“Today is an exciting and historic day for our organization as a whole, marking STANLIB’s first property development project in Uganda,” said Byrd, Principal at STANLIB.
STANLIB believes The Arena Mall offers a chance for good investment return, geographical diversification for the Fund, as well as an opportunity to contribute to the economic development and viability of a key urban node. The primary objective of STANLIB’s Fund is to achieve long-term capital appreciation through investments in a diversified portfolio of quality property developments projects.
Seyani Brothers (Uganda) Limited is the main contractor, and the development and construction will be managed by Betts Townsend.