• Monday, July 15, 2024
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Mulk Holdings in $40m investment to transform National Theatre to retail facility


Mulk Holdings, a United Arab Emirate business conglomerate, is out with $40 million investment to transform Nigeria’s socio-cultural monument—the National Arts Theatre—into a shopping mall.

This investment is part of the conglomerate’s strategic plans to spread its footprints in more emerging markets, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa considered a green field for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

The new facility which, according to sources, will be duty-free, is a joint venture between the company and the Federal Government under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation.

The shopping center slated for delivery in 2016, will be built in partnership with the Suzanne Group, a leading provider of duty-free shopping outlets in international airports and seaports.

The project will comprise redesigning and renovating the cultural centre into a retail shopping mall, converting its existing 30,000 square metre space in two phases of 15,000 square metres retail space.

Having attracted over N200 billion investment into the country in the last two years, analysts say  the retail sector is on course, adding that the country will continue  to be the choice destination for foreign investment because of the rapid urbanization, growing middle class and a changing shopping culture.

“Mulk Holdings is adopting aggressive strategies to expand its core business involving serious investment into existing businesses and diversification into sustainable industries,” Shaji Ul Mulk, chairman, Mulk Holdings, was quoted as saying  in a GulfAfrica report.

Arif Hafiz, Managing Director of Suzanne Group, praised the “milestone contract”, maintaining that Mulk Holdings remained one of the major global business groups in the UAE.

Edem Duke, Nigeria’s Minister of Tourism, explained that as part of the continued drive to promote culture and tourism, the federal government was making necessary arrangements to transform the land harbouring the Arts Theatre into a modern mixed-use commercial and business hub of global standards.

It would be recalled that the Federal Government, through the Culture and Tourism ministry, had requested for an expression of interest from willing investors for the concessioning of the fallow ground within the Theatre premises, with the aim of giving the nation’s cultural heritage a vibrant image that will increase tourism and also allow concessionaires recoup their investment.

According to the proposed master plan, there is a need to upgrade the main bowl of the National Theatre and develop complementary facilities such as a five star hotel, grade A office space, multi-level car park, international shopping mall to the Northwest of the Theatre land, and water recreation, parks to the North East and South East of the Theatre.

The proposed hotel which will stand on 12 floors on the same stretch of land as the office space will include 250 standard single rooms of 30 square metres, 300 standard double room of about 40 square metres each and 50 suites with sizes ranging from 50 to 75 square metres.

The shopping mall expected to occupy about 100,000 square metres of net retail space on its three floors will be adjacent to the transit zone so that it could be easily accessed from all zones of the city.

The master plan also reveals that the area will host three blocks of office building on 10 floors per block (9 floors and a penthouse) with adequate space for ground parking for the office area.