Windhoek-Broll Namibia, a subsidiary of the Ohlthaver & List (O&L) Group, yesterday launched the construction of the N$450-million phase four of Wernhil Park Shopping Centre, where more than 1,000 permanent jobs are expected to be created. This massive investment will result in Wernhil Park adding 19,000 square metres of prime retail area, which adds up to more than 50 additional retail shops.
The expansion of the popular mall will also see the addition of 800 parking bays and another public transport facility that will culminate in a total development area of nearly 50,000 square metres spanning over more than one hectare.
The commencement of the construction project was launched through a ground-breaking ceremony attended by Minister of Urban and Rural Development, Sophia Shaningwa, and the mayor of Windhoek, Muesee Kazapua.
The gigantic project is expected to be fully completed by mid-2019 and the construction of the new phase will, according to the managing director of Broll Namibia, Marco Wenk, ensure Wernhil Park will exceed 55,000 square metres of prime retail space, allowing it to compete head-on with other regional malls located in Windhoek’s ever expanding retail landscape.
At a cost of over N$450 million, Wernhil Park Phase 4 will be developed in two sections. Section one will entail the conversion of the current upper parking deck, located on the southern side of Wernhil Park, into prime retail shops, and is expected to be completed and open for trade by the beginning of June 2018. According to Wenk, section two will entail the bulk of the development, consisting of retail, parking and an additional taxi rank facility, on the current Cashbuild and Fruit & Veg site as well as the bridge link to be constructed over Fidel Castro Street, connecting Sections 1 and 2.
“Wernhil Park has for many years been a crucial catalyst for Windhoek’s central business district (CBD) growth, and today, regardless of the retail expansion in Windhoek over the past three to five years, still stands as one of the preferred shopping destinations for many Namibians. Over the years, Wernhil Park has seen several stages of growth, which included three phases having been added to the original mall since 2005. This falls in line with Broll Namibia’s commitment to enhancing the shopping experience and keeping the experience on par with international standards,” said Wenk.
During his address, O&L executive chairman Sven Thieme called on all partners to join hands in creating a sustainable economic future for the country.
“Like everybody here today, I am extremely passionate about our beautiful country and her people, and hence I am optimistic that our economy will recover. Therefore, let’s all take hands to face and address the challenges head-on so that we enhance the business environment to become internationally competitive to attract investment in value addition.
It is only through local value adding that we will reduce unemployment sustainably and stimulate economic growth,” he said.
“It is developments and accomplishments such as these that fill me with a sense of pride, reassurance and confidence that we are on the right track and very well on our way to achieve the ideals and goals of Vision 2030 and the Harambee Prosperity Plan.”
“And I can assure you that in staying true, disciplined and dedicated to the O&L Group’s values, we remain committed to the future of our country,” Thieme added.
He continued that besides the half-a-billion Namibia dollar investment, it is really the 1,100 employment opportunities that Wernhil Phase 4 will bring that is exciting and inspiring.
Mayor Kazapua commented that Windhoek’s CBD in particular is on a revival mission with key existing and upcoming developments and refurbishments taking centre stage.
“We have seen the B1 City opposite Katutura hospital come to fruition; the extension of the Western Bypass, and the B1 road between Windhoek and Okahandja is progressing at a rapid rate. Developments within the CBD include the multi-million dollar phased refurbishment of the Gustav Voigts shopping centre; the Hilton Garden Inn; the mixed-use 77-On-Independence (majority owned by O&L); the FNB head office; and the City Junction at the corner of John Meinert and Mandume Ndemufayo streets, just to mention a few.
These mixed developments have certainly face-lifted our CBD area and is a clear testimony that our business community is positively responding to the city’s call to revitalize the CBD,” he said.
“Today marks another significant milestone not only in the history of Namibia’s first mall, but also our CBD. As we break ground for construction of Wernhil Park Phase 4 today, I am reminded of the continued confidence of the business community to invest in the Windhoek economy. Allow me, therefore, to extend on behalf of the City of Windhoek my sincere gratitude and admiration to the O&L Group under the vested leadership of Sven Thieme and his ever dynamic team, for believing in us and cultivating a strong and trusted relationship and partnership with the City of Windhoek,” said Kazapua.
In her keynote address, Shaningwa emphasised the value that partnerships play in the future of Namibia. “We need to adopt a culture of camaraderie that enables levels of affinity and cooperation amongst public-private partnerships to take the Namibian House to heights unimaginable,” she said.
“We need to grow to become partners – supportive of each other’s endeavours to grow and develop Namibia, with honesty and integrity. We need to take hands not only during difficult times but more so when celebrating our successes. Developments such as the one we are supporting today, need the commitment from relevant role players, not only within the O&L Group, but on a larger scale, inclusive of government support, local authorities, the construction sector, and the Namibian public at large. It warms my heart when I see how our own people and the business community make an effort to contribute to Namibia’s Vision 2030 and prospects of being a solid developing nation,” added Shaningwa.