Inside property developer Terrace Africa’s ambitious plan to transform Harare’s Highlands

Impression of Terrace Africa's proposed Highlands project

The property developer that built Harare’s Highland Park and Village Walk has an ambitious new project in the works – turning a 200,000 square-metre part of Highlands into a mixed-use commercial and residential hub.

The Highland Park Precinct, which is being driven by Terrace Africa, started with the construction of the Highland Park shopping centre, whose second phase opens this December. The company says this was only the start of its plans for the area.

Terrace Africa plans to build up the stretch of area between Hurworth and Pevensey Roads. It will feature retail outlets, office buildings, a hotel with 700-seater conferencing, restaurants, plus 350 apartments, a gym and a wellness centre. These would be interconnected by pedestrian walkways.

“The Highland Park Precinct is inspired by internationally recognised examples such as Melrose Arch in South Africa as well as Canary Wharf in the UK,” the company says. “Consequently, the precinct has already received substantial interest from local and international brands looking to relocate and build their premises within the node.”

The company plans to start work on roads and service connections for the project shortly, with the first multistorey building expected before the end of next year.

Says Terrace Africa: “The Highland Park Precinct is more than just a development project. It is a vision for the future of Harare. It will be a place where people can live, work, play, and connect in a modern and vibrant environment.”

Terrace Africa would have been encouraged by the success of Highland Park, which has had 100% occupancy and delivered returns from quality tenants.

Last year, Terrace Africa listed the Tigere Fund on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, the country’s first Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT). A REIT allows a company to pool investor funds into real estate investments. Investors buy units in the trust and share profits from the investments. Tigere currently holds two properties, Highland Park and Chinamano Corner, also built by Terrace Africa.

The company said earlier this year that it had a pipeline of new projects that would double its property portfolio over the next three years. Terrace Africa has just started work at a new shopping complex at the Harare Showgrounds.

Property developers are looking to take advantage of demand for commercial space away from the CBD.

“The real estate market remains in limbo; however, the suburban office market remains buoyant due to ongoing relocation activity away from the CBD,” according to Knight Frank Zimbabwe. Its research shows “particularly high potential for office development in the Northern suburban areas”.

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