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BAI designs first mixed-use complex in Zambia for Liberty Properties

Posted On Wednesday, 03 February 2010 02:00 Published by Commercial Property News
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The first phase of construction for a new 94 000m² mixed-use project, designed by South African architectural firm Bentel Associates International, has commenced in the Zambian capital of Lusaka

Levy Business Park Lusaka ZambiaLevy Business Park is situated at the intersection of Church and Kabelenga roads - a flat site in a centrally situated light industrial area of Lusaka. The $200 million (R1.5bn) project, known as the 'Jewel of Lusaka', will consist of retail, office, hotel and residential nodes. 

Socio-economic factors and contemporary developments in Zambia are creating a favourable climate for increasing foreign investment. Zambia's economy has experienced modest growth in recent years but the country is rich in natural resources and has vast tourism potential. 

The Zambian government recently announced that it is committed to reform and the improvement of the country's business environment in order to attract investments into the country.  It is focusing on implementing programmes that will support the growth of the private sector and is endeavouring to ensure that it continues to create and maintain a favourable investment climate.

Lusaka is intersected by four main highways, which include the Great North Road (to Tanzania) and the Great East Road (to Malawi). The popular tourist destination has become a favourite urban residential city for Zambians and a diverse community of foreigners.  Its central location, rapid infrastructural growth and associated job creation augers well for the future of the city, which has the potential to become a prime investment destination if the government's proposed economic reforms are implemented and maintained.

In terms of population growth, Lusaka is considered one of the fastest growing cities in Africa.  A growing middle class with increasing wealth has created a huge demand for retail and other lifestyle spaces.

The retail component:

The 30,000m2 two-level retail component, Zambia’s first fully enclosed shopping mall, will include two anchors from South Africa, a wide range of retail outlets and banks, a substantial food court adjoining a cinema complex and an extensive parking facility.

The design concepts:
The shopping complex has been designed to express several familiar African concepts and images in a modern context.

  • A grand boulevard
    "Shopping centres as we know them are uncommon in Zambia," says Clive Rudman, Bentel Associates International's design architect for the Levy project.  "We looked at the whole idea of a high street, a familiar concept in Africa and we decided to use the metaphor of a high street as a starting point.  Access to the site is off a busy intersection with a robot, so we decided to continue the high street, which exists on the other side of this intersection, into the site.  Instead of having a road in the centre and pavements on either side, we created a 'Grand Boulevard' with pedestrian and vehicular routes that lead up to one of the centre's two main entrances, thus creating a continuation of the high street.
  • A spectacular main entrance
    The main entrance features a glass 'box' structure, creating a pronounced and clearly demarcated entrance from the Grand Boulevard.  At night, this will be illuminated, creating a spectacular, jewel-like and inviting entrance to the complex.
  • African tree line/canopy
    The high street theme is complemented by a second theme, which utilizes the familiar/contextual concept of the African tree line.  Actual trees and tall structural steel will be utilized to create the effect of a tree canopy.  Tall palm trees will be planted on the ground floor and will grow through the second level up to the full height of the roof and its skylights.

"The whole idea is that you bring the outside in by utilizing familiar visual elements from the external environment, and then reinterpret them indoors thus making them an instantly recognizable part of the complex and a continuation of the outdoor high street," explains Rudman.

  • A welcoming oasis
    A third interrelated theme creates the sense of an oasis at the culmination of the 'routes' from the Grand Boulevard and the parking area.  At the back of the complex structured parking will lead to a welcoming second entrance into the complex where a 'pause' area will be created with a magnificent water feature and plants.  Views from the restaurant component overlook the green 'oasis'.

Rudman says that all the design elements will combine to draw people along the two main 'routes', creating a specific and continuous experience.

The hotel component:

The hotel component is situated on one of the corners of the intersection, opposite the office block site.  The three-star hotel will house 150 rooms and a 400-seat convention centre.  Once completed, the hotel will be managed by Southern Sun and will form part of the Stay Easy Hotel Group, a division of Southern Sun hotels.

The building will be a five storey structure with a guest swimming pool.  "The contemporary Stay Easy design elements will be integrated with the rest of the development," says Rudman.  "Hotel guests will have convenient access to the Mall's amenities and the Mall is expected to be positively affected by the hotel."

Office component:

The 5011m² five-floor office component will feature aesthetics and upmarket finishes that will harmonize with the overall development.  It is anticipated that this component will become one of Zambia's most desirable corporate addresses.

Liberty properties first development project outside SA:

The project is being developed by Liberty Properties, the property arm of the Liberty Group, on behalf of Zambia’s National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA), the owners of the project. This will be Liberty properties first development project outside SA. Focus Project Management, the company that project managed the construction of the massive Fairlands Office Park, has been appointed by Liberty Properties for the construction project management of Levy Business Park.

"The project will be completed in two phases - the first phase which has just commenced construction, includes the retail centre, offices, parking and the hotel," adds Rudman.  "The expected start date of Phase Two will be the middle of next year and will deliver a residential development arranged around five landscaped piazzas.  The overall completion date for the development is expected towards the end of 2011."

Levy Business Park is Bentel Associates International's third project in Africa; the highly acclaimed Lagos Palms was completed in 2006 and extended in 2008 and Accra Mall in Ghana was built in 2006.

Bentel International Associates (BAI) is one of South Africa's foremost pioneers of outstanding commercial architecture. The company is widely respected for its innovative yet functional designs across a wide range of sectors.  Its prestigious portfolio includes major retail centres, mixed-use developments, office, hotel and apartment buildings in Southern Africa, West and Central Africa, the Middle East and India.

Last modified on Friday, 24 May 2013 21:11

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