Long-awaited Mall of Africa officially opens

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The Mall of Africa in Midrand Waterfall precinct, worth a whopping R5 billion has opened its doors to the public. The Mall of Africa in Midrand Waterfall precinct, worth a whopping R5 billion has opened its doors to the public.

SA’s mega shopping centre ever built in a single phase, the Mall of Africa in Midrand, worth a whopping R5 billion — has opened its doors to the fervent long-awaiting public.

Long queues already formed in the early hours of the morning as cash-strapped consumers prepared to take advantage of the special opening deals at Mall of Africa.

With a choice of 300-plus stores, restaurants and entertainment, the centre is the largest first-phase mall development in southern Africa to date, according to the property owner, Attacq Limited.

“The opening of this iconic mega mall, marks a significant strategic milestone for retail in South Africa and indeed takes the African retail experience to a total next level,” says Morné Wilken, Chief Executive Officer of Attacq. The centre was officially opened during a select breakfast opening ceremony by the Premier of Gauteng, Mr David Makhura with a larger scale mall launch celebration planned in May 2016

The mall features most popular retailers with five anchor tenants. It also hosts a line-up of international fashion retailers. Anchor tenants include Checkers, Edgars, Game, Woolworths and Ster Kinekor.

Top international brands opening their first stores in South Africa at the mall include Armani Exchange, Helly Hansen, Asics, Zara Home, The Kooples, Under Armour, Women’secret and Soap Stories.

The fashion component will be bolstered by a full complement of banks and tech stores, an array of health and beauty outlets, home and décor stores, as well as a cinema complex. The mall also features a unique town square overlooking a lush green park with an excellent mix of restaurants and fast food outlets to cater for every taste.

Its location near the residential areas of Midrand, access to the Gautrain and links to the popular Allandale Road exit off the N1 Highway, positions the mall for future success.

Attacq Limited owns 80% of the property asset and is developed by Atterbury, owner of the remaining 20%.

Design and Architectural form

True to its name, Mall of Africa’s architectural form, is inspired by the geological beauty the contenting but also leading trends in design element and customer flows – all making for a shopping experience. Using natural elements like wood, stone, glass and concrete, the mall’s centre court takes inspiration from the forests of central Africa.

Its further four courts reflect the four points of the compass on the African continent: the great lakes in the east, the oil and trade of the west, the sand of the North African desert and the mineral wealth of southern Africa.

The mall will implement green technologies, including a massive photovoltaic installation on the roof. It uses grey water harvesting in all public toilets and for the irrigation of the entire development.

It can be accessed through 26 entrances; has 50 sets of lifts, hoists and tenant lift facilities and 40 escalators.

Shopping Mall Oversupply

While there is buzz at the grand opening, the mall will add to an oversupply of retail space that threatens to topple the best returns among SA’s Real Estate Investment Trusts (Reits).

The mall’s opening also takes South Africa closer to 2,000 malls countrywide. Currently there are approximately 1,785 malls.

Mall of Africa will add 130,000m² to the retail stock in Johannesburg, competing with Sandton City shopping centre, Fourways Mall and the well-known Boulders Shopping Centre within its proximity.

South Africa’s shopping mall oversupply is almost tipping over, but more centres are still coming online and expanding.

The country has more than 23-million square metres in shopping centre space, placing it seventh globally and ahead of all the countries in continental Europe, with another 2-million square metres under construction or planned, according to Urban Studies, a Johannesburg-based property market research firm.

A massive expansion project by Accelerate Property Fund to make Fourways Mall the second largest mall in the country – and the largest in Gauteng province – is currently underway. The project will see the expansion of the mall to cover 175,000m² under one roof.

However, Gateway Shopping Centre in Durban, still commands the top spot as the biggest mall in South Africa – and Africa – at 220,000 square metres.

Almost 75% of all shopping centres are located in Gauteng, the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. Township and rural centres have increased to almost 300, while the number of centres larger than 30,000 square metres increased from 36 in 1994 to 160 in 2014.

Retail Cannibalization

Marius Muller, CEO of Pareto, has warned Retailers to guard against cannibalization, citing bigger centres taking away spend from the weaker centres.

He said developers, investors and funders would not “push the button” on new schemes without a high level of retailer commitment. “Developers regularly put their projects out to the market but there is no real way to make them work financially without retailers signing up.

Muller shared his views on the controversial issue at a retail research conference held in Sandton recently.

Cannibalisation refers to a situation where a retailer opens a new store location close to an existing store. When this happens, the existing store loses customers to the new store. Retailers are usually willing to take the risk of cannibalisation if they believe the new store will also attract new customers that do not currently shop at the retailer, boosting combined sales. However, this isn’t always the result.

Jobs

Commenting on the development, Louis van der Watt, CEO of Atterbury says the project supports the local economic development and stimulated job opportunities. On some days during the development phases up to 14,000 contractors from diverse disciplines were working on site.

After opening of the Mall it is estimated that around 4,500 people will be employed in the Mall.

Read more on:

Retail Property  |  Sandton City  |  Atterbury Property Group  |  Waterfall City  |  Marius Muller  |  Morne Wilken  |  Gateway Theatre of Shopping  |  Mall of Africa  |  Attacq Limited  |  Louis van der Watt  |  Accelerate Property Fund  |  Fourways Mall  |  David Makhura  |  Boulders Shopping Centre
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