The multi-million dollar West Hills Mall, Accra’s newest and trendiest destination for one-stop retail shopping was officially launched on Tuesday by President John Dramani Mahama.
President Mahama, accompanied by the visiting Togolese President, Faure Gnassingbe, cut the tape to mark the official launch onto the Ghanaian retail market of the 27,500 square metre mall accommodating two anchor tenants and 63 line shops.
The gates of the mall and the shops had been open to the public earlier on October 30, 2014 for commercial operations.
West Hills Mall is located in Western Accra at Dunkonah near Weija, off the Accra-Cape Coast Highway and with Palace and Shoprite as its anchor tenants, it is touted as the biggest one-stop retail shopping facility in West Africa.
The Mall offers a wide variety of product categories including lifestyle, beauty and wellness; electrical, electronics and telecommunications; banking, and financial services; a pharmacy with outpatient consulting facilities; restaurants; budget as well as designer fashion and clothing stores; gifts and high value merchandise.
Before he cut the tape, President Mahama commended the developers for an investment which will immensely benefit Ghanaian and the neighbouring communities.
He was delighted about the presence of Ghanaian companies and brands on the mall’s tenant list, describing the mall as a potential outlet for showcasing and promoting Ghana-made products.
The President, in reference to the developers’ decision to build similar malls in Kumasi and Achimota, described the development strategy of Delico Property Development Limited, as highly commendable and in line with the government’s vision of promoting the consumption of made-in-Ghana goods and services through modern retail platforms.
President Mahama was also full of praise for Delico’s courage in choosing to build an ultra-modern mall outside the busy inner perimeter of the capital’s business district and in the seemingly less privileged western part of Accra, urging other developers and investors to follow Delico’s example.
Mr. Kofi Sekyere, Chairman of West Hills Mall, disclosed that the idea of generating a commercially viable business enclave within the Dunkonah land bank owned by SSNIT was conceived long ago in the boardroom of Sandpark Properties Limited, a Ghanaian incorporated Real Estate Development Company with which he was closely associated.
“What stands here today as the biggest retail shopping centre in our dear country, was envisioned more than six years ago, to set an entirely new standard in comparative one-stop destination shopping in Ghana.
“The dream that fuelled this vision sought to provide the City of Accra with a world-class infrastructure to deliver to Ghanaians a uniquely rewarding experience in modern retail shopping. This also brings on board top-end business, social and recreational services to the communities located on the western side of the capital,” said Mr. Sekyere.
West Hills Mall is a private-public partnership, a joint venture owned by Delico Property Development Limited, through which South African property development giant Atterbury participates in the project and Social Security & National Investment Trust (SSNIT), with Delico holding a 60% stake in the mall while SSNIT commands 40%.
Among the 63 line shops at the mall are some popular Ghanaian brands such as Woodin, New York Sizzlers, Palace, Exotic Trend, Silverbird, Nallem Clothing, Life Healthcare and Global Access Saving & Loan which are poised to brush shoulders with accomplished brands like Edgars, American Swiss, Foschini, Mango and Woolworths.
Mr. Sekyere said throughout the development process, he and his team were driven by a strong desire to facilitate skills transfer and optimize on the transmission of knowledge in this highly specialized area of top-end real estate development. West Hills Mall Limited accordingly assembled a strong technical and professional team from South Africa which collaborated and worked closely with a corresponding team of Ghanaian professionals to deliver this turnkey development project in record time of 22 months.
He said the mall was indeed delivered in 22 months as promised to the stakeholders and tenants adding however that the 22 months record was achieved with a lot of challenges which required strict supervision and adherence to almost impossible deadlines.
Mr. Sekyere disclosed that the construction phase of the project generated over 1000 jobs for local workers who were engaged in a wide range of artisanal works and various construction modules. Many of these local employees were trained in the operation and deployment of a variety of construction and earth-moving equipment, thereby introducing specialized skills into the Ghanaian construction industry.
Since trading commenced at the mall barely a month ago, tenants and shops have employed several hundreds of Ghanaians in a wide range of areas including sales and marketing, bookkeeping, merchandising, catering, security and Hhhproperty and facility management.
The Chairman said, apart from delivering the Mall in record 22 months, other noteworthy features of the West hills Mall project include the high level of local participation, disclosing that out of a total of 58 sub-contractors used on the project, 35 were ‘our own local Ghanaian contractors and suppliers’.
He added that the project team maintained a high standard in safety, recording 2 million man hours without lost-time injury (LTI).
Mr. Sekyere said one major feature which makes the mall unique is its special highway interchange, now nearing completion.
The West Hills Mall access interchange is constructed in conjunction with the Ghana Highway Authority and was introduced into the project to preserve the free and uninterrupted flow of motor traffic on the highway and provide safe access to pedestrians.
Funded by West Hills Mall at the cost of $8.8 million, the interchange, the first of its kind in Ghana, is being constructed by High Brains Construction, a Ghanaian company accomplished in high profile construction assignments.
Mr. Kofi Sekyere announced that because of the overwhelming success of the Phase 1 of the project (ie all 27,500square metres of lettable space is fully let), the Board of West Hills Mall has approved a Phase 2 which will add another 12,154 square metres to the facility – making it about twice the size of Accra Mall in its current state.
That extension will translate into an additional 27 shops, including one anchor tenant and 580 more car parking bays, to bring West Hills Mall’s total parking capacity to 1,725.
The Chairman also announced that Delico is currently busy with two other mall projects in Ghana – one in Achimota and the other in Kumasi.
“In 11 months Achimota will be ready and should open for business, while in October 2016 the highly anticipated Kumasi City Mall will be open,” he said.
By: Evans Effah/citifmonline.com/Ghana