Businesses flee CBD

SMALL business enterprises, organisations and offices are being forced to relocate from the central business district (CBD) owing to high rentals charged by property owners, a survey shows.

NQOBANI NDLOVU

A survey by Southern Eye last week showed that businesses and organisations were relocating to the eastern suburbs with small enterprises heading to Kelvin industrial area where rentals are affordable.

Office rentals in the CBD range up to $3 000, while in the eastern suburbs and Kelvin industrial area, rentals only go up to $1 000 maximum in most cases.

Organisations that have relocated from the CBD citing skyrocketing rentals include law firms, Bulawayo Agenda, Habbakuk Trust, among others. Effie Ncube, the chairman of the Matabeleland Constitutional Reform Agenda that is also based at the suburbs, said property owners were chasing away businesses from the CBD.

“Rentals are very expensive. Most of the property owners realise that they have little business and they want to profit from the few businesses that are remaining in the CBD. You will find that few businesses in the CBD end up being forced to pay for the rest of the offices that are not occupied in a building,” he said.

Bulawayo Agenda executive director Thabani Nyoni said the relocations were motivated by “survival considerations”.

“The exodus is largely a result of the ever-increasing rental costs from those owning buildings in the CBD. It (the exodus) is motivated by survival considerations.

“What is interesting is that while business has gone down, the rentals in the CBD have actually increased to unsustainable levels,” he said.

Habbakuk Trust executive director Dumisani Nkomo weighed in saying the rentals were not matched by the low business and the “macroeconomic environment” in the city.

Some buildings that have been left by offices, companies and various organisations have been turned into churches.

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