By Business Reporter
WITH increased interest from the business community, Windhoek’s Central Business District (CBD) is on a path to revival, with key upcoming developments and refurbishments a testament to this, including the Hilton Garden Inn.
Other key developments in the area are the mixed-use 77 on Independence Avenue project and the multimillion-dollar phased refurbishment of the Gustav Voigts shopping centre.
77 on Independence, which offers a combination of retail, residential and office space, links Independence Avenue to the Old Breweries Craft Market, a precinct that already hosts a number of retailers, businesses and service providers, as well as a gym and an art gallery.
The three-level Gustav Voigts complex, built in the 1970s, is located beneath the four-star Avani Hotel and Casino. The shopping centre is home to Mr Price, Totalsports, Queenspark, Donna Claire and Pep, as well as a Checkers, and local brands like Wecke & Voigts, Nakara and Safariland.
Oryx Properties Chief Executive Officer Carel Fourie, whose company is the owner of the centre, says, “We’ve undertaken this refurbishment, partly as a result of the growing demand for upscale inner-city shopping, driven by the professionals in the surrounding offices, banks and government buildings.”
Fourth-generation Voigts family member and Wecke & Voigts store manager and buyer, Adriane Jandrell, confirmed that there’s been an increase in the number of professionals frequenting the department store, which opened its doors 125 years ago, and is the oldest in the country.
The Avani Hotel and Casino has similarly seen an increase in patrons over the last year, according to general manager Rudie Putter, who points out that the convenience of the location allows for a healthy mix of tourists, as well as corporate and conference guests.
Windhoek Mayor Muesee Kazapua has noted that despite numerous challenges, the city has seen significant developments over the past few years, including the construction of FNB’s head office and the Hilton Hotel. Addressing a business forum in September last year, he said, “These mixed developments in our CBD area are clear testimony that our business community is positively responding to the City’s call to revitalise the CBD area.“Council stands ready to avail land for developments that it deems will make positive impacts in the livelihoods of our people, particularly in the western suburbs of the city.”
The City has also committed to operational upgrades, to improve traffic flow and parking spaces.
Ronald Uwukhaeb, marketing manager of the Hilton Windhoek, said, “In 2011, Hilton Windhoek became Namibia’s first five-star accommodation establishment, and since then Windhoek has certainly become a hub for retailers and professionals. There are many plans for the revival of the CBD, which are greatly supported by locals and retailers alike.”
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