Time Projects has been “building Botswana” for more than 30 years and is now looking to apply the same development, project, property and asset expertise in Zambia
Writer: Matthew Staff
For more than 30 years, Time Projects has thrived in Botswana across areas of project management, property management, property development and asset management, and the Company is now laying the foundations to replicate such successes in Zambia.
Catering for residential, office and commercial properties over its tenure, the consequent portfolio that now exists is up there with the very best that Botswana can offer, and will inevitably aid the Company’s move into new territory. But to overcome the numerous challenges that come with international expansion, Time Projects is already ensuring it has far more than just a track record to kick-start its impact.
Director, Heinrich Malan is the man tasked with easing the transition from Botswana to Zambia and following recent acquisitions for PrimeTime Property Holdings Ltd, he’s making sure that Time Projects can hit the ground running.
“It’s all about mitigating risks and challenges, and focusing on what we have always done best,” Malan says. “Some people might ask why we don’t branch out into things like physical construction, but we know what we do well and what has served us well in Botswana so don’t want to add an extra dimension of risk on top of these extensive service areas, by spreading ourselves too thin.
“To this end, in Zambia, we will continue to concentrate on the aspects we do, and do well; namely project management, project development, property management and asset management. It’s all about evolving without adding extra risk.”
Established in 1986, Time Projects has every right to retain confidence in its existing remit having been a foremost provider of excellent commercial and residential property services ever since.
“From property management to construction and development, Time Projects has the knowledge, skills and expertise you need to help you realise your property dreams,” the Company affirms on its website. “Our team includes some of the top project managers, property developers and asset managers in Botswana and Zambia, and from housing development to construction and commercial property investment and developers, we have the knowledge, skills and expertise you need to help you reach your property goals.
“At Time Projects, we strive to create high-class, sustainable developments that meet our clients’ specific requirements as both investors and tenants. We continue to be trendsetters and innovators by responsibly developing property assets which enhance businesses. Building on the cornerstones of excellence, commitment and enthusiasm, we tirelessly pursue new growth opportunities for sustainable long-term value creation through cutting-edge commercial office, industrial and retail property development.”
We can’t copy and paste
Since the Company’s venture into Zambia around four years ago, Time Projects has been appointed to the role of property manager for PrimeTime Property Holdings Ltd, subsequently inheriting a host of significant projects within its portfolio.
In its role as AM, Time Projects has acquired a number of properties in Zambia for PrimeTime including PWC Office Park, Kabulonga Mall and G4S buildings in Lusaka and Kitwe.
“So we do the property management in Zambia for these, among others, courtesy of the PrimeTime affiliation, complemented by three of our own developments which they will be acquiring too,” Malan explains. “The first of these, Chirundu Mall, will open next month on the border with Zimbabwe.
“It is one of the busiest border towns in Zambia and will set the tone for further unveilings later this year in the country.”
This opening gambit in Chirundu is already 85 percent let, comprising numerous high profile tenants; it is the epitome of what Time Projects can hopefully look forward to later in 2018 and beyond. But Malan accepts that it is only through a personable, determined work ethic that this growth will be achieved; driven initially by getting to various sites, analysing potential opportunities and gaining as much of an insight into Zambia’s potential as possible.
“Unfortunately we can’t copy and paste the 30 years of success we’ve had in Botswana into Zambia as it’s a totally different market, but that isn’t to say we can’t leverage all of the experience we have to mitigate the challenge,” he notes. “We’re still in our initial stages in Zambia but from next month we will have Chirundu Mall to complement Kabulonga Mall in Lusaka.”
And if prospective partners and clients need any indication as to the service acumen that Time Projects will bring to such opportunities, they need only to look back at its Botswana portfolio.
Malan continues: “Before I came to Zambia some of the big projects I worked on were Mongala Mall which is a 7,000 square metre shopping centre anchored by Spar; as well as the Prime Plaza office development in Gaborone where our head office is as well as the Barclays head office; and a 10,000 square metre project at the Botswana International University of Science and Technology in Palapye.
“These are just a select few of many projects in Botswana and we still have that exposure there now. It’s now about looking to do more of the same in Zambia as well.”
A personalised service
It’s not just about project growth in Zambia either. At present, just four people make up the Company’s Lusaka office headed up by Malan, and it will be as much about internal infrastructural development as it will be about portfolio growth over the next year and beyond.
During the transition, much of the business’s administrative functions have been carried out in Gaborone, but this is already progressing with many of Time Projects’ business partners now being encouraged to leverage local assistance in Zambia from a consultation perspective.
This same approach will also then be applied to the workforce as it expands, as Malan emphasises: “Being a service provider company, our employees are our biggest asset. We believe in looking after them, engaging with them, motivating them and continuously developing them through tailored training courses.
“Then, in terms of corporate social responsibility, we go one step further to contribute also to the local communities in which we operate.”
Its physically demanding ‘Time Adventure Challenge’ has been chief among these initiatives in recent years; all of the money raised being injected into new, free open gyms in the Gaborone.
Evidently an example of how Time Projects will look to ingratiate itself into Zambia in the future too, it also showcases how entrepreneurial and flexible the business is from a structural and decision-making perspective. Consisting of fewer than 30 personnel in Botswana and just four in Zambia at present, a very personalised, efficient service is assured to clients at all times.
And this is what Malan believes will help facilitate the Company’s growth ambitions across two frontiers in the future.
He concludes: “We’re small enough to guarantee consistency across the board. It’s not about big board meetings, but about entrepreneurship, flexibility and providing a personalised service. And when you combine those aspects with the experience and track record we have, it’s a big advantage.
“We’ll hopefully now translate that into more local work in Zambia. It’s been a challenge so far as developers will inevitably already have managers they’ve worked with and we need to show them that we are an attractive alternative. But we have a broad set of skills and are determined to highlight these across all aforementioned service lines during 2018 and then in the longer-term.”