Property outfit, PrimeTime said it expects to have its P106 million Lobatse Crossing retail centre completed by the fourth quarter of 2021 with 95% of the space already snapped up.
The Botswana Stock Exchange listed group added that the 8,768 square metres of space available in the project known as Lobatse Junction Mall, signed leases and offer letters have already been finalised.
Prospective tenants include Spar, Botswana Life, BBS, Ackermans, PEP, Jet, Clicks and Bradlows. Commenting on PrimeTime’s half year results for the year ending February 2021, group managing director, Sandy Kelly, said despite the challenging trading conditions they are seeing positive signs on the ground.
These included increased occupancy, good tenant retention and strong demand for the new developments. “With 95% of the space already taken up at the new Lobatse retail complex this is forecast to be a great success,” Kelly said.
The Lobatse Crossing retail centre project is funded through the raising of debt and the company’s bond programme.
The mall is being built at Lobatse’s main bus terminal, which shall be incorporated into the property with a footbridge offering a pedestrian crossing to the train station. PrimeTime directors said the project had a guaranteed net return of eight percent in its first year, rising every year from then on due to rental escalations built into the lease agreements.
For development pipeline, Kelly said they still hold a landbank, which will crystalise into a major extension to Boiteko Mall in Serowe, Phase II of Prime Plaza in the Gaborone CBD and additional office space at Pinnacle Park in Setlhoa, once the funding model has been secured.
“As these projects are already backed by strong tenant demand and commercial fundamentals, they are on our immediate radar to bring to fruition,” he added. According to the interim results, the group’s vacancy rate has normalised off the five percent recorded at the end of the last financial year to below three percent at this period end.
The main contributors to this are the Zambian properties where vacancies have dropped from 11.5% to 3.5 percent during the six months period.
“The group continues to pursue its strategy of tenant retention and still provides rental relief to those affected by government restrictions on trading,” Kelly said. He added that cost cutting measures are also bearing fruit and the mix of fixed and variable interest rates has allowed the Group to benefit from cuts in interest rates over the last 12 months.
“We continue to receive support from our funders and our program of renewing/replacing maturing debt is on track. This will continue into the next financial year to achieve our ultimate goal of lengthening and spreading the tenures,” he said.