Sod-turning ceremony marks the start of DRC's modern mall

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At the ceremony, from left: Deon Bruwer, CEO of Forum Properties Africa; Preston Haskell, chairman, Forum Properties Africa; Moise Katumbi, Katanga Province Governor; Steven Herring, director of Heriot Properties and Pieter Engelbrecht, COO of Shoprite. At the ceremony, from left: Deon Bruwer, CEO of Forum Properties Africa; Preston Haskell, chairman, Forum Properties Africa; Moise Katumbi, Katanga Province Governor; Steven Herring, director of Heriot Properties and Pieter Engelbrecht, COO of Shoprite.

The sod-turning ceremony for the first modern retail shopping centre in the Democratic Republic of Congo, situated in the southern mining hub of Lubumbashi, was held in the city this week.

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The shopping centre, on which construction has already begun, is part of Luano City, a 300ha, $1.4bn mixed-use development being built on the outskirts of the city. The developer is South African-based Forum Properties Africa.

Shoprite’s Luano City store will be its second in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It has one supermarket in the capital, Kinshasa, which opened more than a year ago.

Luano City is an initiative of international entrepreneur Preston Haskell, who attended Wednesday’s event alongside Moïse Katumbi, governor of Katanga province, where most of the international mining companies active in the country are located.

Other companies at the event included joint venture partner in the shopping centre, Heriot Properties, facilities and leasing company JHI DRC and Shoprite.

Mr Katumbi said he believed that with the rapid pace of urbanisation and new investment in the province, there was huge potential for the premium retail, housing and office space that Luano City would provide.

The first A-grade office buildings in Luano City were completed last year. International mining giant Tenke Fungurume Mining and China’s CNMC Hauchin Mining SPRL, have bought these and another three blocks are near completion. A total of more than 30,000m² of office space will become available over the lifetime of the project.

The shopping centre development is a new phase of development in Luano City, which will take place alongside 60 residential units being constructed.

The 6,000m² shopping centre is scheduled to start trading from October next year. Besides Shoprite, tenants signed up so far include Famous Brands, Innscor from Zimbabwe, Vodacom and a number of local banks, retailers and service providers.

Forum Properties Africa CEO Deon Bruwer said the company was excited by the increasing interest shown in the Luano City project. An indication of this was the access to funding being offered by banks that previously were not interested in funding real estate in the country.

Heriot Properties director Steven Herring said the Lubumbashi project was a natural progression from the property developments with which they were already busy in the Copperbelt in Zambia. "Katanga is an extension of where we see demand growing," he said.

Read more on:

Shoprite  |  Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Property Market  |  Lubumbashi Property Market  |  Luano City  |  Forum Properties Africa  |  Deon Bruwer  |  Steven Herring  |  Preston Haskell  |  Moïse Katumbi  |  Copperbelt Zambia

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