NIGERIA – Retail business in the eastern part of Nigeria is in upward momentum as African Capital Alliance (ACA), a leading private equity investment firm in Nigeria, in collaboration with Anambra State Government are perfecting arrangements to open a retail mall in Onitsha by the second quarter of 2015.
Known as Onitsha Mall, the retail outlet which would be anchored by Shoprite, a well-known South African retail brand that currently dominates retail business in Nigeria will contain about 51 stores of various sizes.
Construction work on the mall has reached 64 percent completion and would be 100 percent completed before the proposed opening date of 2015.
Research has shown that Onitsha is the fifth fastest growing city in the world with the biggest market in West Africa known as ‘Onitsha Main Market’. It is the economic nerve centre and the gateway to the eastern part of Nigeria. It is known to be a major commercial city in the South-East Nigeria, and according to the promoters of the mall, these were part of the reasons they chose to situate the multi-million naira project in Onitsha.
Also, Onitsha Mall will offer a serene shopping experience to retailers and customers with features such as 12,100 square meters of net lettable space; 24 hours electricity and security; over 500 parking bays; six local and international restaurants; central air conditioning; ATM gallery and an average of five stores reserved for banks.
According to the developer, the lucrative business environment, which provides huge investment opportunities for investors, is another major reason for building Onitsha Mall that would be the first of its kind in the city.
Obi Nwogugu, representative of African Capital Alliance, told those who attended the 0nitsha Mall Retailers Forum held in Lagos recently that the vision of Anambra State government and ACA for the Onitsha Mall was to build an infrastructure that would attract private capital into the state.
Nwogugu, who noted that Anambra State was ranked second in telecommunications disposable income and highest in commercial and microfinance banks branches in the Eastern Nigeria, also said that the city recently attracted investment worth $120 million from South African Breweries, which is currently planning to double its investment due to the success of the business.
“Onitsha Mall is a development project sponsored by African Capital Alliance and the Anambra State Government while Diamond Bank is the debt financier of the project. In terms of safety of lives and property, the state has recently received a significant investment in security equipment and personnel in the city, which created an enabling environment for business to thrive,” Nwogugu added.
Explaining the basis for the construction work, Chuka Okoye, project manager, Pro-M Limited, who stated that the construction work currently being handled by Akiota Works Limited, which took over from the former contractor, Technics Construction Company, assured that the project would be completed before the opening date of May 2015.
He slated February 1, 2015 as the proposed date for all the tenants to start occupying their spaces as the beneficial occupation shall be granted to tenants to commence their shop fit-outs, which is expected to take 30 to 60 days before the opening date.
“The mall, which would be managed by Broll Nigeria Limited on completion, is located at the old Anambra Broadcasting building at Park Street, off Awka Road in Onitsha.
The road leading to Park Street has been dualised and resurfaced with traffic lights by the state government to accommodate the volume of human and vehicular traffic on the road at the take-off of the mall,” Okoye explained.