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Gaborone CBD comes to life

Staff Writer
After looking like nothing was going to come out of it for the last five years, the Central Business District (CBD), adjacent to the bus rank and the Gaborone-Francistown Road is taking shape.

One of the developers at the site, GH Group has already begun construction of a P100 million project known as the Square, an integrated retail and office development, at the site.
GH Group says it has moved quickly to set up something there to activate tens of companies who have acquired plots at the site to go into business.
Gulaam Abdoola, the Executive Chairman of the GH Group, says the magnificent and unique ten-storey office building currently under construction at the CBD will give Gaborone and Botswana in general a new identity.
"We want it to set the standard, to be the pace-setter for similar projects in the future," Goolam said at his office esterday. 
The GH Group has become the first private company to start construction at the Gaborone CBD. Abdoola says the office block will be completed by March next year, while another structure, a shopping mall, is scheduled for completion by August 2008, both at a cost of P100 million. 
"I see the ten-storey office block as the gateway to the future. Botswana's economy is at a crossroads now, with a lot of things happening in the mining industry. This building will go a long way in defining the new image of Botswana," Abdoola says about the project, which is being constructed by Tamlac and Bohua companies.
Abdoola, whose company bought 19 000 square metres at the CBD in September last year, describes the office block as one of a few in the world and says it is modelled on one in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
The office tower will be made of glass and tiles. An excited GH Group chairman says the unique feature will set a standard

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for future developments. The building will have two wings, the East Wing and the West Wing, each with seven floors of 400 square metres. The two highest floors will be 1400 square metres each. "We are very excited and we hope everybody else is very excited about this."
The GH Group chairman says his company embarked on this project even before they could look for clients as a sign of the company's confidence in the future of the country's economy. He says his company was worried that ever since other players in the private sector were allocated plots at the CBD, more than five years ago, not a single project was under construction at the site, let alone up and running.
"The private sector is not playing its role. They must stop blaming the government and start developing that site. We applied for plots last year, and we assured the authorities that as soon as we had the land, we would start erecting something."
 Although he acknowledges that there is an element of risk in the GH Group's latest step, he hopes that companies will follow in the GH Group's footsteps and begin construction: "This place is the best in the city. No other place compares with it in terms of convenience. It is central, it has the most open road network, and it is not near any dumping site."
The GH Group has also developed the Village Centre and Game City in Gaborone, as well as Nzano Centre in Francistown. The company is currently developing an integrated complex consisting of an ultra-modern shopping mall, a residential park, a value centre, and an office complex and state-of-the-art conference centre in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania.



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