LÜDERITZ - The N$400 million Lüderitz Waterfront development project represents the single largest business development in Lüderitz since independence. The Waterfront development company and government are jointly funding this project with relevant ministries making the largest financial contribution. The project was initially planned to take 28 months to complete had all funding requirements been availed. However, CEO of the development project Fluksman Samuehl expressed his concerns about the extended delays in completion of the project. The delays have been primarily caused by the considerable reductions in the flow of capital funding from government, particularly during the last three years. Reductions in availed capital have been blamed on substantial inflationary cost increases being experienced in the building works of the project.
“Needless to say, we fully understand the cash constraints being experienced by the central government to be in a position to channel our way sufficient cash funds, to enable commissioning at an earlier date,” Samuehl emphasised.
Samuehl stated this during a three-hour working session with the Lüderitz Town Council on the Lüderitz Waterfront development last Thursday. The session consisted of local authority councillors, members of the town’s executive management and senior management. The purpose of the meeting was to brief the council on progress on the project which is being constructed at the old power station.
As part of ongoing stakeholders engagement, Samuehl indicated that the Lüderitz Waterfront company will soon hold a consultative meeting with major stakeholders in Lüderitz, with the hope of achieving thorough understanding and enhanced appreciation as far as the development is concerned.
He said given the difficult funding challenges the company had faced with respect to the capital project, it was decided to prioritise the early completion of the Maritime Museum, gymnasium and auditorium. It is anticipated that these facilities will be open to the public by the end of 2019. At the same time, building works will continue in other areas of the old power station complex such as the satellite campus for the Namibia University of Science and Technology, sport and recreational facilities as well as external works around the building. Namibia’s first-ever Maritime Museum is expected to be a draw card for increased tourism, as it will focus on three pillars, namely, Fishing at Sea, Seabed Mining and Trading at Sea.
Samuehl emphasised that, so far, good maritime artifacts have been collected, which will be displayed in the museum. Professional curators will be hired to manage and run the museum. The museum will have specific appeal for children, promote clean oceans and provide education on the socio-economic and environmental importance of the sea.
The old power station is a large heritage building located on the shore in Lüderitz and the building was completed in 1911 during the German colonial era. The building was created primarily to provide power to the then flourishing town of Kolmanskop and Elizabeth Bay during the diamond rush. Due to the strategic location of the building, the Lüderitz Waterfront company identified the potential to integrate the building into its waterfront development. In 2010, with cabinet support, the entire old power station property was transferred from the Lüderitz Town Council to the Lüderitz Waterfront company for the sole purpose of development. Construction works of the redevelopment of the old power station commenced in earnest in 2013. The development module aims to turn the building into an attractive waterfront space.
The future development includes an indoor heated swimming pool, netball/volleyball/basketball courts, cafeteria, sea view gymnasium, a 350-seat auditorium, cinema hall, coffee shop, two restaurants, lounge, amphitheater as well as a host of outdoor and indoor youth and tourist-friendly facilities.
According to Samuehl, the range of facilities hold a promising future for the company in terms of revenue generation. It should be noted, he said, that the purpose of the second phase of which the old power station forms an integral part, is to revitalise the waterfront by turning it into a popular public access place in town and to help to diversify the local economy by creating new business opportunities and stimulating private investments. With these developments the town is poised to become an attractive destination for young professionals in the next few years.
Thus far the project has created close to 200 employment opportunities during the construction phase. Once operational the development is expected to create no less than 150 permanent jobs for Namibians.
Samuehl, who is also a former member of parliament, said that various growth projects under the Waterfront’s Second Phase Development aim at making Lüderitz waterfront not only a popular tourist and investment destination but a special place that welcomes all people to live, work and enjoy beautiful and inspiring architectural spaces.
He said the second phase of the waterfront project is fundamental for achieving business growth and the creation of additional investment opportunities within the coastal town. At business level, the development will be in a better position to attract diversified incomes meant to strengthen its profitability. According to Samuehl, the Lüderitz Waterfront expansion programmes will go a long way in terms of transforming Lüderitz not only into a vibrant student town, but a leading commercial centre in southern Namibia with enhanced tourism appeal over the next few years. He added that the Lüderitz Waterfront development is responding well with the approved town structure plan.
“In a nutshell, Lüderitz Waterfront is on the path of re-making Lüderitz town proud in strengthening investor confidence, attracting and retaining professionals in key disciplines, creating meaningful employment, attracting new sustainable investments, and bringing about modern economic infrastructure capable of offering new experiences and improving the living standards of its people.”
Samuehl emphasised that Lüderitz is poised to grow both in terms of size and its ability to provide critical services to its residents, tourists and other visitors, and that “this wave of development will trigger a challenge of housing shortages”.