“This investment is due partly to the growing demand for upscale inner-city shopping, driven by the professionals in the surrounding offices, banks and government buildings,” says Carel Fourie, newly appointed CEO of Oryx Properties, the owner of the centre.
The three-level complex, built in the 1970s and located beneath the four-star Avani Hotel and Casino, was the country’s very first mall. It is home to established brands such as Mr Price, Totalsports, Queenspark, Donna Claire and Pep as well as a Checkers supermarket and local brands like Nakara, Wecke & Voigts and Safariland. “With the redevelopment, Gustav Voigts will be able to improve on its tenant mix by providing multinational retailers with optimal retail space,” says Fourie.
Oryx Properties – the only Namibian property company listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange – has appointed Stauch + Partners as the architect and principal lead on the project. Andy Chase, architect at Stauch + Partners, says, “We want to create a fantastic new look for Gustav Voigts and enhance shoppers’ experience, while ensuring that the centre remains an iconic landmark in the CBD.”
The first phase of the development will include the construction of a new roof to let in more natural light, the extension of shopfronts and the replacement of balustrades. All public toilets will be renovated, new escalators will be installed and two additional parking decks will be added. The entrance on Independence Avenue will get a brand-new façade.
Despite a financially disappointing 2016, the city of Windhoek is seeing a revival of its Central Business District (CBD). Retail events and street festivals are drawing people into the CBD after hours, creating a wonderful atmosphere in a previously quiet place.
“Namibia has one of the most stable economies in southern Africa due to a strong institutional framework, a good fiscal and monetary decision-making policy, and an innovative and relentless private sector,” says Fourie.