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Mall of Africa slowly takes shape

More international fashion retailers sign up.

Atterbury Property’s Mall of Africa development is on track for its opening next year, with more heavyweight international fashion retailers announced at the R3.2 billion shopping centre.

Located on both sides of the N1 between Midrand and Sandton, the mall is slowly taking shape for its completion on April 28 2016. Atterbury has partnered with JSE-listed property development fund Attacq Limited on the development.

In October, the developers confirmed that Cotton On and Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) were part of Mall of Africa’s tenant mix, as talks to secure Zara at the time were pending.

Atterbury on Tuesday unveiled a throng of international fashion retailers including Zara, GAP, Forever New, River Island, Mango, Lipsy London, Tommy Hilfiger, Express US, Jo Malone London among others.

Cotton On will occupy two floors of the 130 000 square metre mall.

Atterbury’s Mareli Vorster, who is responsible for leasing at Mall of Africa, says it is already 83% let – representing 100 000 square metres of the total gross lettable area.

“We have been picky and we have a very specific idea of who we want and where. There were sufficient offers on the table,” says Vorster.

Over the last five years, South Africa has seen an influx of international fashion retailers which has created more choices for local consumers. Europe and the US have been recovering from the 2007 global financial crisis, which has prompted global retailers to look at growth markets such as Africa.  

When the development was unfolding, the developers noted that retail space was being held back to make room for international fashion retailers.

The mall, which is now three-and-a-half years in the making, is South Africa’s largest retail single-phase development, says director of retail at Atterbury Cobus van Heerden.

“This is the first centre to be constructed in one phase, while others have been done in many phases,” says Van Heerden.

At 130 000 square metres, the plan allows for the development to increase to 150 000 square metres over time. At this point, Van Heerden says more space could be added to the southern wing of the mall where the restaurants are situated. Mall of Africa will offer consumers over 300 stores and parking capacity for 6 500 vehicles.

Van Heerden says at least 1.3 million consumers are expected to frequent the mall on a monthly basis.

The groundwork has been laid for better access. A taxi rank on the mall’s basement is planned to support the Gautrain bus routes already dotted across Waterfall City. In the long term, there are opportunities for the roll-out of the Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit System routes.

The mall also boasts environmentally-friendly features. Tia Kanakakis, partner of MDS Architects, which is behind the mall’s design, says a rainwater harvesting system will supply water for the bathrooms. Photovoltaic solar panels will be installed on the roof to supply power to the mall. The roof will be constructed of steel and glass, allowing for natural lighting, which will be supported by LED lighting.

Kanakakis adds that the development is not yet targeting a green star rating.

What also makes the development unique, Van Heerden says, is that Mall of Africa is an infill development. This means that it will benefit in terms of consumers from the existing commercial and residential space close by. The mall is nestled in the sprawling mixed-use development Waterfall City, described as the ‘new CBD’ and is set to rival Sandton.

Waterfall City has seen the roll-out of residential units by Century Property Developments. Corporates like Group Five, Cell C, Honda Motor South Africa, Premier Foods, Cipla, Altech and Golder Associates have established at Waterfall City’s business district.

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Seems like Atterbury won the race against OMSA who also had grandiose ideals for a development in this area, but they included the airport as part of their plan. This development was mooted 15 to 20 years ago at a cost of about R 1.5 to R 1.8 billion – how costs have escalated

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