Waterfall, the largest property development ever in South Africa, is to be anchored by a R3.5bn shopping centre called Mall of Africa in a move that is set to shake retailing trends around the richest locality in the African continent, the Gauteng Province.
Atterbury, the developers of the ambitious Waterfall, announced yesterday that earthworks on the 120 000sqm shopping centre were already underway and trading is due to commence in the first half of 2016. The super regional shopping centre is positioned as South Africa’s largest single-phase shopping centre development to date. Its peers have become super regional shopping centres through phased developments that happen over many years. The Mall of Africa is remarkable as a R3.5bn investment in a single strike.
The development represent a super expression of confidence on the direction of the South African economy and in particular the health of its middle class. That confidence is shared by the largest property development bank in the country, Nedbank Corporate Property Finance, which is funding the development.
Nedbank Corporate Property Finance executive Ken Reynolds described the funding deal as coming out of a relationship of mutual trust and a shared vision of the potential that South Africa’s commercial, industrial and retail property developments have, which significantly contributes to the economic and social development of the country as a whole.
Mall of Africa will come to claim a spot within the premium retail property league. It is a league currently made of developments like Sandton City in Sandton, Menlyn Park in Pretoria, Northgate in Durban and Canal Walk in Cape Town. In Gauteng, it does not come to join the league in peace but to do battle of what can be described as a generally over traded market.
Mall of Africa is stationed in between the recently revamped Sandton City and Menlyn Park and in a way contributes towards integration of the Pretoria to Johannesburg corridor. In between there are lots of sizeable retail developments. But then perhaps a micro view of the Waterfall location and future potential makes for a viable retail feature.
The Atterbury announcement said Mall of Africa will be located at the heart of the ambitious Waterfall, a city superbly situated between Johannesburg and Pretoria.
Atterbury Property Developments MD James Ehlers said a mall of this scope suits the large, growing community living and working in and around Waterfall. “An estimated 6.7 million people already live within an hour’s drive from the mall, of which 4.9 million people are within half-an-hour’s drive. This number will increase as the Waterfall precinct develops”. He said most of this market comprises economically influential consumers – largely from the LSM 7 to 10 brackets. This puts Mall of Africa on the doorstep of many of South Africa top earners, executives, professionals and young entrepreneurs. Besides local shoppers, Ehlers notes the vibrant mall will also entice visitors to the city from South Africa, Africa and further afield.
Ehlers added that “Developing a mall in the heart of the fastest growing urban node in Africa created the prospect for an exciting modern landmark. Mall of Africa’s sheer scale, distinctive design, exceptional location and top-notch retail mix puts it at the forefront of retail developments”.
The developer added that with the first free-flow intersection of its size in Africa at the nearby Allandale Road exit from the N1 Highway, getting to Mall of Africa is easy. Massive road upgrades also ensure easy access. Besides road transport, it is minutes away from the Gautrain Midrand Station and enjoys superb proximity to OR Tambo International Airport, Midrand’s Grand Central Airport and Lanseria International Airport.
The developers emphasized that the two-level mall forms the hub of Waterfall Business Estate, a staggering 1,6 million square metre large mixed-use commercial development undertaken by Atterbury, and the most ambitious commercial development yet undertaken in southern Africa.
The developer added that the highlight of Atterbury’s development is the exciting 800 000sqm mixed-use Waterfall City at the heart of Waterfall and, at its nucleus, is the Mall of Africa. The mall holds prime position in the tailor-made 330ha new city that embraces integrated living in its fullest live-work-shop-eat-play scope, with retail, offices, homes, hotels, a hospital, light industry and the all-important lifestyle and leisure components.
“Mall of Africa will be a visual, social and economic anchor within Waterfall City,” said Ehlers.
He said over 300 shops, with seven anchor tenants and a carefully considered retail mix, will create a unique retail experience at Mall of Africa. It will provide a well-balanced variety of local and international brands, services, speciality shopping, entertainment and eateries. Flagship stores for all major South African retailers will be part of its attraction.
Cobus van Heerden, retail director at Atterbury Property Developments, international retailers are targeted, many of whom are not yet represented in South Africa. These range from luxury brands to the more mainstream. The response from them has been phenomenal and this will further differentiate this mall from current South African malls.
“Besides striking dimensions and a wide array of retail, Mall of Africa’s bespoke amenities set it apart,” says Ehlers. The centre will feature valet parking, VIP lounge, spa, baby nursery and children’s park and play area.