The Zimbabwe-based hopping center is constructed from more than 60 containers.
A property developer in Zimbabwe has started building a shopping complex out of shipping containers, after taking inspiration from Qatar’s Stadium 974.
Bentach Resources’s latest project in Gweru, Kudzanayi Bus Terminus Plaza (KBT Plaza), was constructed using dozens of shipping containers.
“We have created cubical shops from shipping containers. We were inspired by Stadium 974 built in Doha, Qatar for the 2022 World Cup and thought of putting up a shopping mall in Gweru that is made up of shipping containers,” said Bentach Resources project manager, David Kudakwashe, according to reports.
The company is currently adding up the final touches of the retail centre made of durable steel boxes that will provide over 50 small-scale vendors in Gweru with a decent market space.
Beyond their original functions as storage spaces and cargo transporters, shipping containers are now serving other purposes, around the world, with the biggest project of which being Qatar’s World Cup stadium.
Stadium 974 was constructed using 974 shipping containers and represents Qatar’s international dialling code. The creative venue was built entirely from recycled shipping containers, allowing authorities to dismantle it in the aftermath of the World Cup.
According to Kudakwashe, the mall is finished, and 50 shops will be occupied by various business owners in two weeks.
“It’s practically complete, we are now just putting some final touches, so that the place is comfortable for our tenants, by the first of March we will be fully functional but we will give tenants a two-week grace period to set up without paying their rentals,” the project manager said.
By providing them with suitable store space, Kudakwashe claimed that the mall would alter the Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) sector of the Gweru economy. According to him, Gweru lacks adequate retail space for SMEs, which makes it necessary to build new spaces for them to market their goods.
“This project is going to be a game changer to how our SMEs trade, the complex of this nature is a first of its kind in the country. However, container conversions are not anything new, it is not something that we have come up with, but we have extended and extrapolated to fulfil the need of our SME market. This is something new and can be a game changer in terms of space for SMEs,” he detailed.
An overwhelming amount of businesses have already started inquiring about the shops, according to Kudakwashe.
“Gweru residents are excited about this project and so far over 300 small-scale traders have shown keen interest to operate their various businesses from the newly constructed arcade but unfortunately we are starting with 50 only. If space was permitting we would have put more,” he explained.
The shopping centre is constructed from more than 60 containers. The mall will eventually have two stories. The stores were given unique additions, such as roll-up doors, sliding glass doors, restrooms, kitchenettes, in addition to other designated rooms.
“We are doing this to provide decent and comfortable selling sites for small-scale traders. People had turned this place into illegal toilets and was now an eyesore. Now we have changed the face of it with this mall,” he said.
“SMEs generally struggle to access affordable and appropriate workspaces and when we have such initiatives, we celebrate because we know that our members will have conducive working spaces. We want SMEs to grow and they can only do so if the environment is affordable and safe”.
After hosting its final game and event, Stadium 974 is now set to be dismantled stadium to be transported to nations in need of infrastructure.
The location of the iconic stadium will be used for a waterfront business development.
The stadium, which is the first fully demountable covered football stadium, is a tribute to Qatar’s dedication to cost-effective sustainability.