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Billion dollar project on track

Paul Shipoke, a prominent businessman and developer of the Bahnhof Square and Lifestyle Centre in partnership with Steven Skoppelitus and TransNamib. (Photograph by Clemencia Jacobs)Negotiations with potential tenants and financing partners for the Bahnhof Square and Lifestyle Centre are well underway.
The development partners, which include businessmen Steven Skoppelitus, Paul Shipoke and TransNamib, also signed a public private partnership (PPP) agreement three weeks ago.
Paulo Shipoke, one of the initiators of the project, says the negotiations with tenants should be finalised by the end of May, while the financing arrangements should be completed by June. Construction of the development is expected to start by August this year.
“The leasing agreement negotiations with the tenants should take us up to the end of May and we are looking to finalise the financing agreements by June. We are also looking to issue tenders for the project between May and June.
“Everything else is in place; the basic design of the centre is in place but as we continue to negotiate with the tenants, some changes has been made to the design in order to meet their needs and preferences. At first we wanted to build on 15 000 sqm but this has now increased to 25 000 sqm due to demand,” said Shipoke.
He said there is a real need for such a development at the coastal town of Swakopmund as the town’s CBD is currently congested and there is no space left to build. The town also does not have a one-stop shop forcing its residents to drive from one shop to the next.
“We believe with the development of major projects such as Husab, there will be a need for such a development. It will definitely be a solution for the town of Swakopmund. It definitely has big potential,” Shipoke said.
He further said the Bahnhof Square and Lifestyle Centre has attracted potential investors from the region, especially from South Africa.
The development will be situated on two open properties owned by TransNamib, including the Swakopmund railway station.
The Bahnhof Square and Lifestyle Centre will be located on the Moses Garoeb Street, one of the coastal town’s busiest roads; it will consist of a lifestyle centre which will include doctors’ practices, offices and restaurants and a shopping centre space which will include business premises and light industrial warehouses, as well as apartments.
The land for the lifestyle centre leads from the railway platform towards the Swakopmund Hotel and Casino.
“The development promises the best shopping experience for Swakopmund’s residents and the rest of Namibia. It will also add to the economic development of Swakopmund. It will not only serve Swakopmund but it will also serve the people of Arandis, Karibib and Usakos; it will be a regional shopping centre,” said Shipoke.
He added that 10-20% of space has been reserved for the retail sector and urged the Namibian business community to support the project.
The billion dollar – project came about after Shipoke noticed a vast area of land lying unutilised while driving around Swakopmund. He then approached Transnamib and Steven Skoppelitus to jointly develop the Bahnhof Square and Lifestyle Centre.
According to Shipoke, initial cost of the project will be N$400 million. This will increase to N$1.2 billion when the project is finalised in 2017.

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