Soweto's Protea Glen mall allures tenants

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Artist’s impression of the Protea Glen Shopping Centre in Soweto. Artist’s impression of the Protea Glen Shopping Centre in Soweto.

Developers of the R360m Protea Glen Shopping Centre in Soweto are trumpeting success, despite much deteriorated market conditions that have set in between conceptualisation and construction of the centre.

The centre will add 30000m² to the Soweto retail market. In a remarkable twist of historical retail infrastructure development trends, the Soweto market has been blessed with a couple of mega developments in the past few years. These include the R500m Maponya Mall, the R250m Jabulane Mall and the extensive developments around the Bara node.

These developments were conceptualised during the pre- 2008 retail boom, which has since burst. Following a promising recovery last year, national retail sales are coming under pressure.

How is it then that developers of the Protea Glen Shopping Centre, which is under construction and due for completion in September next year, can claim leasing success? Could this be a marketing gimmick designed to boost market confidence?

In a statement issued recently, developers Masingita Property Investment Holdings, headed by Mike Nkuna, suggested that the Protea Glen retail infrastructure was far from sufficient in meeting a growing market demand.

A statement released by the developer last week said retailers had moved quickly to secure space in the development to capitalise on the centre’s fast-growing trade area.

The development is situated at the highly visible nexus of Protea Boulevard and the K15 highway – the main arterial between Lenasia and Krugersdorp. It is the only retail destination in this area of budding residential development.

Nkuna said that independent analysts Fernridge Market Research rated the development site as “excellent”, because of its superior accessibility, high profile and central location.

Alf Levin of Township Realors said more than 20000 affordable housing units had already been built in Protea Glen, with another 15000 in the construction or planning phases. The 2000 sectional title units around the new shopping centre – along with a new 130-bed private hospital and Grace Bible Church – are expected to stimulate even more residential growth.

That’s in addition to 27000 new houses at Lufhereng, next to Protea Glen, and 35000 new houses planned for the southern side of the N12, next to Lenasia.

The centre will have a selection of 90 stores when it opens.



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