ZITF’s lays out ambitious masterplan to turn exhibition centre into commercial complex

A render of proposed ZITF complex

The Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) has announced an ambitious long-term plan to turn the Bulawayo exhibition grounds into a mixed-use commercial development.

Property developer Terrace Africa will develop a shopping complex as the first phase of the project. Under the plan, the fairgrounds will be renamed the Zimbabwe International Conference and Exhibition Smart City (ZICES). It will have a 5000-seater international convention centre, hotels, the shopping centre, a theme park, office complexes, and eco-friendly parks.

ZITF plans to retain over 25 existing structures that are of historical significance. These would be modernised to mesh in with the feel of the new development. The total project is anticipated to cost US$300 million and will be executed in stages, the ZITF says.

“The unveiling of the new ZITF Masterplan and Smart City represents a transformative moment for Bulawayo and underscores our commitment to driving sustainable growth and development in the region. By revitalising the ZICES we aim to create a vibrant hub for commerce, hospitality, and leisure, while also celebrating Zimbabwe’s rich cultural heritage,” says Busisa Moyo, Chairman of the ZITF Company.

ZITF says it has started engaging stakeholders to begin implementation on various key anchor developments. These projects may be structured through Public Private Partnerships (PPP) models.

Terrace Africa helped ZITF come up with the masterplan. This is the first in Bulawayo for Terrace Africa, the developer of projects such as Highland Park and Village Walk in Harare. The company manages the Tigere property fund, and has said recently that it targets to add more properties to grow net asset value to US$50 million by the end of 2025, and to US$100 million in the next three years. Terrace is also building Greenfields, a complex at the Harare Showgrounds, exploring new developments in Ruwa, and building the Highland Park Precinct.

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