New movie house at Joina City

MOVIE lovers are in for a treat as Harare’s upmarket mall Joina City is set to open doors to its new cinema before the end of this year.

Owners of the iconic skyscraper, Masawara Plc, said they were working on retaining quality tenants, finding suitable tenants for the vacant office space and on debtors’ collections, in order to increase occupancy levels and the cash available.

“An agreement has been signed with a cinema operator and renovations of the vacant space are due to commence during the second quarter with opening set for the third quarter of 2016,” the Jersey-based company said.

This comes as Joina City, which opened its doors to the public in 2010 after more than a decade of construction, has struggled to attract tenants as most companies are shunning the central business districts to avoid traffic congestion.

Masawara is anticipating that the retail section at Joina City will be fully tenanted by the third quarter resulting in an increase in turnover.

“We do not expect the office occupancies to increase significantly during 2016, as there is a trend in the market of businesses moving out of the city centre to industrial and suburban areas.

“Joina City is exploring various initiatives to improve debtors performance, including providing incentives for tenants who pay their rentals on time,” the London Stock Exchange-listed firm said.

The latest development is also expected to bring a renewed excitement among the youths following a sustained decline in movie house interests in the country in the wake of increased piracy. Before the hyperinflation period in 2008, there were so many movie houses in the city centre and in Harare many would recall the downtown Liberty Cinema, Rainbow and SterKinekor.

It was a plus to travel to Avondale or Westgate to watch movies and the location of a cinema and entrance prices were often a sign of class.

Youths, especially students would go to movies on the afternoon after lessons while the mature would go to the cinemas after work. It was a way of socialising and having fun. It was big business for the cinemas.
Those were the days. Now, a lot has changed in the film industry and many movie houses have closed down due to lack of business.

The movie house culture has shifted from cinemas to home viewing. The cinemas now have to compete with technology and many times the big screens suffer. Since the introduction of the multiple currency system in 2009, there have been new improvisations and new developments in form of 3D cinemas but the new movements have not been able to lure fans back to movie houses.

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