The largest mall constructed to date in the Bay Islands is about to open. Several businesses that rent space at the mall already opened in early August- the first international fast food burger joint on the island, Wendy’s, a local ice cream maker, Cream of the Trop, another bank, Banco Continental, and a cell phone company, Claro. At the end of August of the 62 rental places at the mall had, all but eight have been rented: 6 restaurant and two shop spaces.
The rental spaces vary from 50 square meters up to 350 square meters. The biggest retailers will be Carrion Store, Lady Lee, Applebee’s, and Supermercado Mega.
Ing. Jorge Hullinghorst, general manager of the Roatan Megaplaza Mall, estimates that the cost of constructing the mall will be somewhere around Lps. 200 million, or $10.5 million. The rental prices for stores vary between $10 and $15 a square meter per month, much lower then mall rental prices in San Pedro (up to $45 a square meter), or Tegucigalpa (up to $35 a square meter). According to Hullinghorst the Roatan rental prices were adjusted due to the economic downturn on the islands and motivation to fill in the rental spaces as soon as possible.
The mall was started in October 2008 and originally scheduled for opening in October 2009. In the end the mall construction is expected to be complete around 24 months after it began, and the official opening is scheduled for business on September 12.
Copreco, the multinational company that won the bid for construction of the mall was employing up to 300 people during peak construction. According to Hullinghorst Copreco has used around 40% of labor from Guatemala. “They won the bid and needed to keep their cost low,” Hullinghorst explained the strategy of importing foreign workers to Honduras and Roatan. [/private]