Mall de Tete, McCormick Property Development’s first shopping centre to be completed outside of South Africa, opened on 1 December. Located in the northern Mozambican town of Tete, the capital of the province of the same name, Mall de Tete will bring much needed shopping amenities to a town which has undergone,and will continue to undergo, rapid periods of expansion over the past few years.

This expansion has been fuelled by the discovery of massive coal deposits in the area, and more recently, high quality iron deposits as well. Jason McCormick, MD of McCormick Property Development (MPD), explains that exploitation of these resources during the past decade gave this remote area a new attractiveness to international hydrocarbon-focused businesses. Although global economic and local political circumstances have meant that the area did not grow as rapidly as predicted, the world’s continued dependence on hydrocarbons means that Tete continues to hold massive potential.

MPD was alerted to the opportunity to develop a shopping centre in Tete by Shoprite, a retailer which has successfully established itself in a number of countries outside of South Africa. MPD has the rights to develop around 22,500 square metres of gross lettable area (GLA) on the site of Mall de Tete. The centre has been designed at its fullest size, and is able to be developed in phases as the economic situation allows and as demand in Tete grows.

The centre has currently opened with 14,000 square metres, and will expand in line with growing demand and increased trade. Tenants currently include Shoprite, Choppies, KFC, Pep, Woolworths, Studio 88, Jet and Fashion World. The centre also houses a pharmacy, optometrist, baby shop, cosmetic shop, and a number of local Mozambican retailers.

Entertainment is an important feature in many remote shopping centres, and MPD has secured Saporo as one of the main restaurants for the food court. In addition to its dining offering, the restaurant will offer a pool hall and will be a lively place to congregate. MPD also has a license to bring gaming facilities into Tete, with discussions underway to introduce a casino in the area.

Although he is confident that prospects for Tete look excellent, McCormick comments that Mall de Tete has been one of the most difficult and demanding centres he and his team have yet developed. With local tenants being hesitant to commit to space until a centre has proven itself, together with currency fluctuations which have posed a challenge to structuring appropriate rental agreements, the team has had to work extra-hard to bring Mall de Tete to fruition.

Despite the challenges encountered, McCormick is pleased with the development so far and is confident that the centre will continue to grow as Tete expands and economic conditions become more favourable. The experience has also been an excellent proving ground and has provided lessons which the team can apply on future projects.