$23,6 million housing project to change Gweru

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THE forests to the north of Gweru are fast disappearing paving way for a cluster of houses and vast tracts of flat land with markings of portioned residential stands.

BUSINESS REPORTER

The once vast forests and farms along the Lower Gweru Road are giving way to a massive housing project being undertaken by property developer, Tinshel Properties and Construction.

The project which is spread over six phases is worth $23,6 million.

Low income earners who have in the past been struggling to own houses of their own are the beneficiaries. The first phase which falls under Tinshel Heights and worth $1,8 million is almost complete.

The land developer is optimistic that the remaining phases will be completed soon since there has been a surge in the uptake and construction of stands under Phase Two to Phase Five. Tinshel Properties and Construction chief executive officer Tinashe Manzungu said he has been overwhelmed by the progress made in providing affordable housing to Gweru residents.

“When I look at Gweru, I am overjoyed by the strides that we have made as a company to provide housing to the low-income earners.

“Our company was born out of the need to empower people so that that they realise the dream of owning a house and I am pleased that our project is bearing fruits,” said Manzungu.

“We have the First Phase which has cluster houses, some which are already complete and then Phases 2 to 6 which have stands which are at varying stages of construction. We have Phase 6 which will be commissioned in August and this is consists of 1200 stands valued at $8,4 million.

“Clearing of land and the laying of pipes has already started at Phase 6, which is situated at Sekope Farm adjacent to Tinshel Heights. Our aim is to help Gweru City Council reduce its housing backlog by providing affordable houses and residential stands. We hope that in three years we would have done a lot for Gweru residents”.

The opening of the Midlands State University has exerted pressure on accommodation as the institution has no adequate space to house its students.

This has seen students being charged exorbitant rentals and landlords especially in Senga are forcing at least three students to share a room.

Manzungu also said that his company is developing some stands in Kwekwe and Kadoma as it seeks to spread its wings across the country and beyond.

“After we started in Gweru we realised that a lot of people were coming from outside the city from places like Kwekwe, Mutare, Kadoma and some parts of the country to buy stands here. So we realised that as we grow, we need to spread our wings to other towns and cities as the low-income earners face the same challenges and dreams as those in Gweru,” said Manzungu.

In Kwekwe the company is developing low density residential stands in Nesby while in Kadoma they came up with a suburb called Cherrybank.

Manzungu who was named Midlands Chamber of Small to Medium Enterprises business person for 2014 said his company intends to penetrate the regional market with feasibility studies having already been done in Zambia and Mozambique.

The coming in of Tinshel Properties into the market is expected to ease the housing backlog in Gweru which stands at 17 000 with the national figure standing at 1,5 million, a third of which is in Harare.

Government plans to construct 125 000 housing units by 2018 under the economic blueprint, Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (ZimAsset).

Local banks which have in the past offered long-term loans or mortgages to aspiring home owners are heavily constrained due to the melting economy.