The Republican Guards near MTN roundabout in Kimuhuru are to relocate. The beautiful trees that surround their barracks are to be felled. The development comes after Cabinet passed a ministerial decree allowing Kigali City to lease the land to Virunga Property Development LTD, paving way for Nakumatt Holdings’ to establish a chain store in Kigali.
The East African recently reported that the decree prompted the allocation of a 30,000 sq mt, piece of land in Kimihurura, a prime area of Kigali City, to Virunga Property Development Ltd.
"Rwandans and other foreign investors have pooled resources to fund the construction of the Gateway Mall, Offices and Apartments—generally known as Nakumatt Kigali," Ezra Bunyenyezi, publicist Virunga Property Development told The New Times at his office in Kigali.
The recently passed ministerial decree allowed the Kigali’s Office of the Registrar of Land Titles to issue private lease status for the land, which is adjacent to another proposed site of the multi-million dollar Kigali Convention Centre to investors.
It will also enable investors to lease the land for 30 years before they get freehold titles.
In a letter written to Virunga Property Development, The East African quotes Claudine Nyinawagaga, the Mayor of Gasabo District as writing, "the district is pleased to allocate Virunga Property Development LTD, the land on which Nakumatt Project will be built. We therefore request you abide by, exploration of the 3.2ha and also submit building plans."
Nakumatt which will be Rwanda’s first multi-national branded chain supermarket is Kenya’s leading retailer. In Kenya it has registered 19 stores across and employs about 3,200 people with recording a 2006 turnover quoted at $ 300m (about Frw163 billion).
In Kigali the company is targeting one million potential customers from 250,000 households with 50,000 different items including a cinema centre.
Bunyenyezi, said the complex is to cost about $ 18m about (Frw10 billion). He said it will be complete by June 2009.
"Nakumatt will be the anchor business of the complex of the mall. It will have ample parking space for 450 cars, the Nakumatt space will be 6,926m2 with 10 floors and the functionalities of the mall will include retail, entertainment, business meeting halls, offices and apartment," Bunyenyezi said.
"It is designed to suit new height restrictions or requirements. The design provides a gateway look for travelers coming from the airport into the MTN roundabout. It also provides the Nakumatt shopping experience with accommodation befitting this prominent location," he added.
Bunyenyezi said that after the government lease of land, Nakumatt re-confirmed its commitment in the project and has already finished the preliminary design and cost estimates. He said that the Environmental Impact Assessment (EAI) has been completed and that Rwanda Report Enterprise Investment Corporation has been invited as co-promoters.
To sustain it growth momentum, Nakumatt Holdings has been involved in the development of its shopping malls in partnerships with landowners and financial institutions that basically provide money for development.
In Rwanda, as a matter of policy the supermarket intends to enter into the same agreement as an anchor tenant and also pay rent. Right now Virunga Property Developments Ltd is completing the information memorandum debt providers and awaiting the EAI Report from Rwanda Environment Management Authority (Rema).
Nakumatt’s designs were drawn by Nairobi based Bowman Associates Architects. Nakumatt also hired Commercial Bank of Africa (CMA Capital) as their Financial Advisers for the whole project.
The company’s Director of operations, Thiagarajan Ramamurthy recently said the chain store would role out an ambitious $ 21 million plan that would see new local branches opened with a branch each in Kampala, Arusha and Dar es Salaam by the end of 2008. The new stores planned for Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda would make Nakumatt ready to match giant retailers based in South Africa, like Metcash and Shoprite, according to an evaluation carried out by Planet Retail, an advisory firm based in London.
Until now, Metcash and Shoprite have been the only retailers in Africa with the financial muscle for expansion plans of this scale. Shoprite the largest food retailer in Africa runs 886 outlets in 17 countries in Africa, the Indian Ocean islands and southern Asia has already established a major presence in East Africa.