Sandton booms

Posted On Sunday, 16 November 2008 02:00 Published by
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Sandton City wants to attract an even larger chunk of the country’s R10.5bn annual cross-border trade with plans for a R1.7-billion expansion for the landmark centre.

SIMPIWE PILISO

JOHANNESBURG’S biggest shopping mall, Sandton City, wants to attract an even larger chunk of the country’s R10.5-billion annual cross-border trade — with plans for a R1.7-billion expansion for the landmark centre.

Liberty Property Development said this week the refurbishment would create additional retail space for new top-end retailers and stores.

Chief executive Caswell Rampheri said the project had been three-and- a-half years in the making. It includes a 30000m² extension of the mall which will take the complex to 158000m² in gross lettable area.

“It will entrench the Sandton City complex as Gauteng’s premier shopping destination and enable it to support the significant development and growth seen in this area, coming particularly from new residences and the construction of the Sandton Gautrain station,” said Rampheri.

“The retail extension will accommodate our existing key retail tenants such as Woolworths, Truworths, Edcon and Foschini, which have for some time been requesting additional space. There have been numerous inquiries from other local and international retailers.”

The interior refurbishment includes introducing more natural light, internal landscaping, and as many as 1000 additional parking bays. Andrew Bradford, a director at property consultancy Bradford McCormack, recently put the cost of building a single bay of basement parking at R90000.

Southern Sun’s Sandton Sun lobby will also be refurbished to include more dining areas and a rooftop restaurant.

Liberty spokesman Fiona Hannig said: “Out-of-date capital equipment such as lifts, escalators, air conditioning, parking equipment and building management systems will be replaced.

“The revamped complex should not only attract more shoppers, but should see them staying longer.”

Sandton City, which was first opened in 1974, has 300 shops ranging from international brands to local retail stores and boutiques.

Linked to Sandton City is Nelson Mandela Square with its six-metre bronze statue of the former president. It’s a fashionable destination with sidewalk cafés, fine dining and 90 exclusive shops.

According to the City of Johannesburg’s Tourism Strategy, an estimated 10% of sub-Saharan Africa’s 500000 retail tourists who visit Johannesburg each year, stop over at Sandton City for shopping.

Rampheri described the refurbishment and expansion as an “exciting project”. While the first phase is scheduled for completion in April 2011 — with 95% of construction completed in time for the 2010 Soccer World Cup — the second phase will include the development of residential apartments and an office tower on the corner of Fifth Street and Rivonia Road.

The third and last phase will include an additional hotel and more office space.

“It is the first step in a much broader vision for Sandton City and Sandton, which ideally would include the construction of a new office tower, an additional hotel and increased residential housing, further extending the Sandton City retail offering alongside a structural strengthening of the existing complex,” Rampheri said.

London-based RTKL Associates, an award-winning global practice of architects, planners, engineers and design consultants, has been contracted to the R1.7-billion project.

RTKL’s prospectus includes designing the Beijing International Sports and Exhibition Centre, the Gateway Shopping Centre in Um hlanga, Durban, and the new Twin Towers precinct in New York.

Hannig said the main construction contract had not yet been awarded.

“It’s in the tender stage and will include a 60% black economic empowerment participation target with mandatory use of SME and joint- venture BEE entities to ensure skills transfer.

‘‘The refurbishment will commence soon and is scheduled for completion in early 2012,” she said.

The work, said Hannig, would accommodate the expected increase in the number of visitors during the Soccer World Cup.

The rush for commercial space began in the mid- to late-’80s, when land in Sandton, Rosebank and Parktown was cheaper than that in the Johannesburg CBD.

Gauteng’s former finance MEC Jabu Moleketi once told the Gauteng legislature that the cross-border retail trade was worth R10-billion a year and continued to grow.

Four years ago, it was reported that more than 40000 people commute to the Sandton CBD every day.

In addition, an estimated two million shoppers visit Sandton City and Nelson Mandela Square each month, according to online newsletter Sandton Central.

City officials estimate that international holiday tourists, on average, spend between two and three nights of a 17-day visit to SA in Johannesburg.

According to the City of Johannesburg’s website, while in Johannesburg 9% of foreign tourists visit Soweto, 11% visit Gold Reef City, 10% visit Sandton City or the Rosebank Mall, and 3% visited MuseumAfrica.

Source: Business Times


Publisher: I-Net Bridge
Source: I-Net Bridge

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