If you may be wondering why so many residents of Kumasi are so keyed up and euphoric these past few days, it is partly because the city’s first and much-awaited world-class shopping and recreational centre will open its doors to the public in less than 24 hours – on Thursday, April 20.
‘Oseikrom nso wƆ bi!’ (Kumasi too now has its own) is the big word on the streets and it fully encapsulates the fervour and anticipation of resident as inspired by the prospect of the arrival of a major business landmark. Justifiably, the Kumasi metropolis has been engulfed by a calm, but widespread sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.
Indeed, nothing can be taken away from the people of Oseikrom for relishing the arrival of Kumasi City Mall – the Ashanti region’s first A-grade shopping and recreational centre. This vibrant city had been yearning for such a facility for a very long time and its arrival must be embraced with relief not just by the people of Kumasi but also by non-resident compatriots. There are rapidly growing middle and upper middle income groups in the Kumasi metropolis whose members have had to endure years of frequent travels to Accra (and even overseas) just to procure top-end basic necessities and luxury items.
Since July 2008, when the concept of modern one-stop destination shopping first entered Ghana’s retail space, the national capital has virtually monopolized the malls, being home to all the four major retail facilities fit to be designated as malls in the true sense of the word: the premier shopping mall - Accra Mall, West Hills Mall, the biggest retail facility in Ghana, Achimota Retail Centre (the pride of north-eastern Accra) and the Junction Mall at Nungua, also in Accra.
On the lighter side of the equation, one observes that this rather sore exclusion has not been limited to the absence of the convenience of one destination shopping which every mall offers. Significantly, it also deprived many young, affluent and especially swaggy’ Oseikrom residents of high value ‘bragging rights’! An airport, a highly reputable university, a big sports stadium, the Rattery Park, good hotels a famous traditional marketplace and many more ........but no modern shopping mall! The case will definitely be different from April 20 onwards.
‘CHARLIE, AFEI DIƐ,YƐN NSO YƐN DEƐ ABA, WATE!’ declared Kwame Aboagye Dacosta, a successful hotelier in Amekom, downtown Kumasi – implying literally in Twi that ‘At last, here comes ours!’
Dacosta rumbles on, “Bro, wise men of old said, he who laughs last, laughs best! So you see? Our mall (Kumasi City Mall) is even bigger and far more beautiful than any mall in Ghana!! Now we are going to teach you (Accra) people how to make full and proper use of a mall!” he teased his associates from Accra as they downed chilled Star beer at a pub not too far from the Mall.
Many people in and around Kumasi – businessmen, public and private sector workers, students, transport owners, plain revelers and members of just about every identifiable social group seem excited and are waiting not just to see but to experience this new and incredible local destination for shopping and recreation.
For some unfathomable reason, every ‘bookie’ in town and every market-watcher has been quick to conjecture that unlike the slow take-offs experienced by Accra’s big malls, Kumasi City Mall is destined to ‘hit the ground running’ and would, in no time, become the entire Ashanti Region’s busiest and most fancied address for shopping, business, entertainment and social recreation.
The US$ 95 million Kumasi City Mall (already nicknamed ‘KCM’ by students at KNUST), is located at Asokwa, on the confluence of Lake Road, Yaa Asantewa Road and Hudson Street and sits on a total land area of 15.4 acres with a letable space of 18,500 square metres and potential for further expansion of up to 10,000 square metres.
KCM is a development owned by Delico Kumasi Limited, a fully owned subsidiary of Delico Property Investments Ghana Limited, the same group which owns the Achimota Retail Centre and is the majority shareholder of West Hills Mall.
Because of the Delico Group’s declared commitment to set an entirely new standard in comparative one-stop destination shopping in Ghana and because, as it turns out, that agenda is already maturing within an incredible time span of just four years, it may be necessary to expatiate on the character of the developer.
Delico Property Investments Ghana Limited is itself a wholly owned subsidiary of Delico Property Developments Limited, Mauritius - a joint venture between AttAfrica Limited, Mauritius and Nasek Investments Limited (Nasek),a Ghanaian controlled entity also in Mauritius.
AttAfrica is the majority shareholder in Accra Mall and is a leading retail property investor in Africa with investments in Zambia and Mozambique and its shareholders own several shopping malls across South Africa. Nasek's affiliated company in Ghana, Sandpark Properties Limited, is the developer of a luxury, gated residential complex just a few meters away from West Hills Mall and is also the Development Manager of the construction of Ecobank's Head office at Ridge, Accra.
Look and feel
Kumasi City Mall, the group’s third straight development in just four years, is a semi-closed shopping facility, which, according to the developer, has been specially designed to reflect the local environment and lifestyle in Kumasi, adopting highly innovative and cutting-edge technology in real estate development in the construction process. Notably, the edifice’s columns and ceilings are intricately designed to portray an artistic view of the trees and forest elements which characterize the greenery of Ashanti Region.
With a total car parking capacity of over 1,000 bays in the open as well as undercover basement, Kumasi City Mall is anchored by two well known retail operators in Ghana, namely Shoprite and Game and has at least 60 line shops offering a variety of goods and services in various retail categories, including grocery and foodstuffs, lifestyle, beauty and wellness, electronics and telecommunications, budget and designer fashion and clothing.
Other categories are pharmaceuticals, gifts and high value jewellery, restaurants and eateries banking & financial Services, entertainment (including big screen cinemas), children’s games and recreation.
Benefits to the local economy
Some interesting economic facts emerge from the arrival of Kumasi City Mall. The multi-million dollar project impacts progressively on both national and local economies leading from the injection of foreign direct investment into the country to the tune of no less than 50% of the total cost of the project (US$95 million). Notably, both its construction and business phases of the project contribute to the country’s economic growth by increasing gross domestic product considerably.
Kofi Sekyere, Chairman of the Board of Kumasi City Mall, is reported to have said a couple of weeks ago that, the convenience of modern one-stop shopping aside, he was particularly captivated by the potential impact of the multi-million dollar investment on Kumasi’s local economy, lifestyle and business in general.
Apart from the significant contributions the project has made to the national treasury, KCM has been a reckonable job-creator, generating employment for a large number of Ghanaians during the construction phase, in the course, facilitating valuable technology and skills transfer; as the mall gets set for business on Thursday, Kumasi City Mall will open as the permanent workplace for hundreds of people in Kumasi.
Says Kofi Sekyere: ‘Both the construction and trading stages of this project have generated considerable employment avenues for the youth in Kumasi. My one wish now is for the local business community here (in Kumasi) to position itself strategically enough to take full advantage of the countless opportunities brought by the Mall.’
By and large, if we should take full account of this great city’s track record in entrepreneurship, its dexterity in business and its people’s estimable alignment with nature, culture and tradition, we can be assured that Kofi Sekyere’s wishes and expectations shall not only be met but can be exceeded.
As Roux Gerber, KCM’s Project Manager and Isaac Kyei-Mensah, a Board Director emphatically put it, Kumasi City Mall is ‘everybody’s mall’, built to deliver and meet the needs of every resident and visitor to the great city of Kumasi.
The key point here is that, the people of Kumasi love their mall. They have been waiting for it all the while and now that it is barely a day away from being experienced, let us all celebrate Kumasi City mall! ‘YƐn nso yƐ wƆ bi, ampa!’