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Property owners hard hit by de-industrialisation
THE massive de-industrialisation of Gweru has left many property owners counting their losses as many factory shells in the heavy and light industries are unoccupied.

The collapse of giant firms such as Zimbabwe Glass Industries, Zimbabwe Alloys, Radar Castings, Kariba Batteries Manufacturers and Zimbabwe Castings, has reduced the economic activity in the Midlands capital, which used to boast of hosting critical processing corporations.

Trevor Dollar Real Estate director, Victor Wasara said there has been an increase in the number of property owners wanting to sell their industrial properties that have become a burden to them.

“There’s no activity in the industries due to company closures, which have been experienced.

“We’re just leasing out shells and some have now been converted to churches,” he said.

“When it comes to rentals, it’s actually the tenants who’ve the negotiating power.

“A lot of property owners in these areas have now put their properties on sale since business is no longer lucrative as it used to be when industry was on its feet.”

Wasara said commercial and residential properties in the Central Business District of Gweru are also empty.

Statistics on occupancy for office and shop space indicate 20 percent of space in the Midlands capital is empty with some businesses now shying away from the CBD in favour of suburban offices close to the city centre like Windsor Park, Gweru East and Athlone.

A survey by leading real estate firm, Knight Frank, shows that rentals in Zimbabwe are 30-40 percent lower than what is obtaining in the region, a development blamed on the economic slowdown.

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