text by Michael Nott -photos by Fotohaus
Council has created seven new economic development corridors within Harare to support their vision of turning Harare into a city with world class status by 2025 and assist Government’s programme to create a national middle-class economy by 2030. The seven zones are Enterprise Road (now ED Mnangagwa Road), Second Street, Avondale (now Sam Nujomo Street), Samora Machel Avenue East-West, Mukuvisi, Harare-CAZ Aerotropolis Export Processing Zone and Venturesburg Export Processing Zone. The Enterprise Road corridor has already seen significant development with many formerly residential properties being converted to office or retail spaces. Most noteworthy perhaps is the recently opened Highland Park Shopping Mall on the corner of Arcturus Road. Further along ED Mnangagwa Road, on the corner of Ridgeway North, TotalEnergies has just completed their new state of the art service station and shopping mall.
It’s an unmissable and imposing double storey structure in yellow/ochre bricks, and glass in black aluminium frames, roughly divided into two sections. One section is comprised of Nando’s Drive Through, closest to Ridgeway, and adjoining the main TotalEnergies forecourt. Nando’s Drive Through is great for good food on the go, but there’s also the option for relaxed indoor seating to enjoy your meal in comfort. Across the forecourt is a second, complementary, double storey structure which houses TotalEnergies signature Cafe BonJour and convenience store, an upmarket coffee shop and a variety of selected retail outlets and service providers.
Apart from Cafe Bonjour (which includes an outlet for Ravine Purified Water) other tenants in the shopping mall block include Jodan Electronics for phones, laptops and related accessories, Mel’s Rush for shoes, bags and accessories, Hiltons Pharmacy, the Apple Shop – accredited Apple distributors,
Nicolexis Precious Collections – for jewellery, accessories and gifts, Home This and That – for decor accessories and home essentials, Original Marines for children’s wear, Toy Verse, Sunglass Shack, Donini Dry Cleaners and Mukamo for footwear and fashion accessories.
There’s The Ridge Cafe for great coffee and cakes and light meals in an elegant and trendy setting – they have indoor and outdoor seating. There’s even the Shield Car Wash so you can get your car cleaned inside and out while you enjoy a meal or do your shopping. The shopping mall has clean, modern restrooms for customers’ convenience. A thoughtful and unique feature of the mall is a dedicated and tranquil Prayer Room for devotees.
The service station and shopping mall was designed by local architectural firm Pearce, McComish, Tarabuku with C Kunaka Consulting Engineers t/a Dickie and Kunaka as the lead engineers and Makkie Construction as the main contractors. TotalEnergies has a very detailed list of specifications for all their service stations internationally which have to be strictly adhered to for health and safety reasons as well as to enhance their brand image. Underground storage tanks, pumps, and drainage are all required to meet international standards. In addition, the local regulatory body ZERA has a stringent checklist that must also be adhered to and approved before a marketing license is issued and all service stations are required to undergo regular safety checks. The stipulations include health and safety regulations as well as specifications for environmental protection.
All these complex and highly technical factors had to be incorporated in the final design and approved by various regulatory bodies. In addition, the service station and the shopping mall needed to look appealing to attract clients and to have convenient and hassle-free traffic circulation for customers. There also had to be sufficient parking space for shoppers at the mall and diners at the restaurants.
The architectural design of the service centre incorporates a number of interesting design details. The forecourt has a high translucent roof as opposed to the usual solid roofs of other service stations which have an upper roof and a kind of ceiling underneath that incorporates the lighting. It looks ultramodern and very distinctive – different to most other service stations in Zimbabwe.
The custom made forecourt roof was supplied and installed by Brown Engineering. TotalEnergies also specifies that there are stone bollards protecting the pumps from accidental collisions from motorists. The architects came up with a unique alternative to meet the requirements. The bollards are made from fibreglass shells cast from a real stone bollard and filled with concrete. They are an innovative, functional and very durable, maintenance free solution. Another first for TotalEnergies and for the architects– something that can easily be replicated for future service centres.
One of the solutions to the traffic flow problem was to have access from both Ridgeway and ED Mnangagwa. Ridgeway provides access to the drive through as well as to the forecourt and the rest of the complex. ED Mnangagwa Road has an entrance and exit route for the service station and the shopping mall. The developers also solved the problem of easing traffic flow by installing traffic lights at the busy junction of ED Mnangagwa and Ridgeway. The traffic lights were requested by City of Harare after C. Kunaka Consulting Engineers had submitted a traffic circulation proposal for the Enterprise-Ridgeway North intersection. It’s a great relief for motorists on the two increasingly busy thoroughfares.
Globally TotalEnergies is moving into developing the supply of renewable and alternative energy sources to diversify from the world’s dependence on fossil fuels. This is reflected in the name change from Total to TotalEnergies to reflect the fact that they’re becoming a ‘multi-energy’ company.
They’re one of the few petroleum firms committed to reducing their carbon footprint in line with current concerns around the climate emergency. The service station, the shopping mall and the traffic lights are all supported by a sophisticated solar set up to help reduce their carbon emissions and gradually move towards a greener future. TotalEnergies has already installed or retrofitted solar power solutions to serve a number of their new or established service centres across Zimbabwe. In developing countries many TotalEnergies service centres include facilities for recharging electric vehicles although this trend is slower to catch on in Zimbabwe – there are far fewer electric vehicles in Zimbabwe so the demand is still very low.
TotalEnergies has a long history in Zimbabwe dating back to the 1960s when they established their first service stations in what was then Rhodesia. In 2021 the international company rebranded to TotalEnergies to emphasise the company’s commitment to a new outlook on energy supplies moving towards renewable energy sources with lower emissions and a more environmentally conscious future. TotalEnergies has around 100 outlets across all areas of Zimbabwe. The new development at Ridgeway offers a template for future service station designs. It’s an efficient, aesthetically pleasing and environmentally friendly concept.
It’s not just a place to fill up on fuel – it’s a one stop, convenient, integrated venue for your vehicle and for you. You can get something good to eat or drink, do your shopping, visit the restrooms and even relax in the prayer room. Incidentally, TotalEnergies also has a policy to support and sponsor local sports and has several on-going community outreach programmes.
What more could you ask for?