Talent Gore

THE failure to maintain and upgrade shopping centres in and around Harare has led to the sharp decline of the state of many suburban shopping centres.

Residents say some of these shopping centres now resemble shanty complexes.

Red flags have been raised over the state of Queensdale Shopping Centre, Athlone Shops, Braeside Shopping Centre, Rhodesville Shopping Centre and Pendennis Shopping Centre.

Some of them, according to residents, have become meeting points for criminals, drugs and theatres for drugs and alcohol abuse.

Nothing has been done to develop these places to the extent that now they resemble rural business centres.

What baffles one’s mind is how some of the shopping centres like Village Walk, Arundel Shopping Centre and Highland Park have been modernised while these have been left to deteriorate.

Residents of Marlborough say they now drive to Arundel Village, Westgate Shopping Mall or Greencroft Shopping Centre for their shopping because of the sorry state of the Marlborough Civic Centre.

One resident, Shalom Mudonhori, said:

“Marlborough Civic Centre used to be one of the best shopping centres in Harare’s suburbs but lack of maintenance and upgrades over the decades has left the place looking dreadful.

“We have witnessed new shopping malls being built and others being renovated but nothing of that sort has happened at Marlborough.

“I believe that the owners should get into some partnership with developers so that this shopping centre gets a facelift.”

She said she was shocked when she saw the upgraded shopping mall in Hillside along Chiremba Road.

“The Chiremba shopping mall was refurbished within a short space of time and now it’s beautiful,” she said.

“There some residents who travel to Hillside for their shopping and it’s absurd that residents from across town have to travel all that way when they can just shop at their shopping centre.

“The owners of the place have failed to even pave the front of the complex and shoppers have to contend with a dusty frontage of the shopping centre.”

 Others said Westgate Shopping Mall was also in danger of being reduced into a shanty shopping complex because of vendors and informal traders who have sprouted all over the place.

Tarisai Chihota felt for the big businesses operating at Westgate who have to contend with competition from vendors who pay no fees or licenses to conduct their trade.

Chihota added that Athlone Shopping Centre has been in a terrible state for decades and there was a need for it to be demolished.

“Suggestions have been made for the owners to sell the complex if they could no longer run and maintain it in a good state but the owners seem reluctant to do so,” he said.

“It would be great for a big institutional investor to buy the whole property, demolish it and put a big development there.”

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