Joseph Madzimure Senior Reporter
BLUE Ridge Spar or Sweet Valley, which is owned by businessman, Dr James Makamba, is set to reopen in July, after Government last week returned the shopping complex on Maryvale Farm, Mazowe, to him.
The complex drew customers from the extreme north of Harare, travellers on the Harare-Mukumbura Road and residents in the southern part of the rural district.
In an interview last week, Dr Makamba said rehabilitation of the complex had started.
“Work is in progress to make sure the complex will be ready for business in two months’ time,” he said.
“We are working with the relevant authorities to make sure that we operate within the confines of the law.”
Dr Makamba commended the new dispensation led by President Mnangagwa for putting in place policies which attract investment.
“When the President came into office in 2017, he came up with a plan to lure investment into the country through the ‘Zimbabwe is open for business’ initiative,” he said.
“We are happy with the Government’s efforts to give back our empire so that we can start operating. We want to revamp Blue Ridge to ensure it comes back to its glorious days. We want to create employment for the people in Mashonaland Central and Zimbabwe at large. The people will enjoy the best while passing through the complex.”
Farmers, he said, will be able to sell their produce at the supermarket without travelling long distances. Dr Makamba said the farmers will in turn be able to buy their inputs from the shop.
“We are currently cleaning the place and doing repairs to electrical fittings and plumbing,” he said.
“We want to restore the previous set up and add an events venue, service station and pharmacy plus a leisure centre.”
Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement Perrance Shiri confirmed that the supermarket and two adjacent shops had been returned to Dr Makamba.
“The process of demarcating boundaries and paper work is still in progress, but Dr Makamba can now utilise the shopping centre,” said Minister Shiri.
During land reform, Dr Makamba was allocated the farm before he secured a loan of about $14 billion from CBZ focusing on earning foreign currency through horticulture.
Dr Makamba built a road to the shopping complex where Blue Ridge Spar was the main anchor store. When the complex was closed following Dr Makamba’s fallout with the then President, Mugabe, about 450 employees were also affected.