Zambia: Lusaka’s Society House in $100 million facelift

By Nawa Mutumweno – Zambia National Building Society (ZNBS) will in May this year start re-developing Society House in Lusaka’s central business district at a cost of $100 million.

In 1997, fire partially burnt the building, leaving 11 out of the 19 floors affected and since then, ZNBS has been seeking a developer to redesign the building.

According to ZNBS senior manager property and estates Logan Nyasulu, works will start on May 1, 2011, once the tenants vacate the premises.

The tenants have been given a six-week notice to vacate and pave way for the redevelopment of one of the city’s premier buildings.

“On May 1, 2011, we are starting redeveloping Society House and we have since issued notices to tenants to vacate the place and we expect the project to take an average of three years to be developed,” he elaborated.

Last year, the Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA) opened bids for the redevelopment of the premises and Central Arcades whose initial project cost is pegged at $100 million.

The design of the modern building will take into account parking needs, traffic flow challenges and access concerns.

It is expected that parking space for 1 500 vehicles will be provided with Society House being linked to Central Arcade in the Phase One.

Initial plans are that Central Arcades would then be linked to Cha Cha Cha House in the second phase.

Five years ago, management developed a model to redesign the building, taking into account provisions for packing. ZNBS could not implement the project five years ago as it did not have financial capacity, hence the engagement of private financiers.

“ZNBS will use the off balance sheet to get the funds needed and to this effect, a business plan has been finalized,” Mr. Nyasulu added.

On the concession agreement talks, meetings with the equity partner will start in January 2011 and are expected to be concluded before May 1 when the works commence.