(Bloomberg) -- Developers have started selling villas that will be built in a new Zimbabwean city that’s targeting the economically troubled country’s elite and may eventually be designated its capital.
Under the first phase of the so-called Cyber City, 50 luxury villas are now available for pre-selling, according to Vanessa Vos, managing director at the Pam Golding Properties branch in the capital, Harare. Vos’s company holds the sole mandate for the project on behalf of the developer, Shaji Ul Mulk, a Dubai-based billionaire.
Ul Mulk says he’s investing $500 million on the project that he estimates will ultimately cost $60 billion, Bloomberg reported earlier this year.
“There has been incredible interest,” Vos said in an interview on Friday. “We are in serious consultations with about 30 people.” A sales launch event was held Thursday.
Civil works on the site in Mount Hampden, located about 11 miles northeast of the capital, Harare, are expected to commence next week. Buyers of the villas are expected to pay an up-front commitment fee of 5% and a 25% down-payment within a month, while the balance of what they owe can be settled over a year. The first construction phase is expected to last about two years.
Read More: Zimbabwe Plans a New City for the Rich, Leaving Harare in Decay
The luxury villas have a starting price tag of $500,000 per unit, almost twice the average price of properties in the affluent northern suburbs of Harare, and some are earmarked to be sold for $1.2 million. Interest in the development has come mostly from people and companies based in the country, Vos said.
Billboards advertising the project are dotted along major roads in Harare.
A roadshow may take place in South Africa in a month to tap interest in the neighboring country, Vos said.
Still, Zimbabwe may be a hard sell. After more than two decades of political and economic turmoil, the local currency is virtually worthless and is increasingly being replaced by the US dollar, and few investments have been attracted to the country.
The Mount Hampden development, is located close to the Chinese-built national parliament and is expected to also be the future site of the central bank headquarters, the high and supreme courts, mineral auction centers, a stock exchange and a presidential palace.
A brochure available on the Zim Cyber City website depicts pristine walkways, towering high rises and shining malls.
It’s a contrast to the current sprawling capital, which is characterized by vendors clogging sidewalks, traffic congestion and dilapidated infrastructure.
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