YFM may shake up Rosebank

Posted On Wednesday, 03 October 2001 03:01 Published by
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Radio station's move to The Zone criticised as undermining suburb's exclusivity YFM's move to The Zone at Rosebank next month is set to change the face of the traditionally exclusive Johannesburg northern suburbs node.

Radio station's move to The Zone criticised as undermining suburb's exclusivity YFM's move to The Zone at Rosebank next month is set to change the face of the traditionally exclusive Johannesburg northern suburbs node.
It could sink or save Rosebank, a suburb that epitomises the crisis SA's retail property sector faces.
The popular regional youth radio station's move comes as vacancies in all property sectors rise in the wake of tight macroeconomic conditions that have seen general decline in retail sector returns.
Local property owners' revitalisation initiatives have been blasted by remaining tenants for exacerbating the crisis rather than solving it.
The Zone Old Mutual Properties' R220m 'shoppertainment' development has in particular drawn criticism. Sceptics say it undermines the traditional strength of Rosebank as an exclusive suburb for highincome earners. The Zone targets consumers aged between 18 and 35.
Centre GM Mark Souris says the battle to maintain Rosebank as a high-income earners' node has been long lost to centres like Hyde Park and Sandton, and the way to go is to find a niche youth market.
He says research shows teenagers constitute 30% of SA's population and their spending tops R1bn a year. YFM will help deliver this market to The Zone and the rest of the suburb, he says.
The station is forsaking Bertrams premises for 543m² in The Zone, which will house its studios, an internet cafe and coffee shop, and an outlet for YFM merchandise. Most of the space the station will rent has been vacated by the departure of clothing shop Damat & Tween.
The station is also taking 522m² in Regent Place, the small centre between The Zone and The Mall. The Regent Place premises will house YFM's head office and loyalty club.
Souris says there is synergy between The Zone and YFM as both parties target the same market.
Once YFM and other new tenants, clothing chain stores Aca Joe and DKNY, move in in November, The Zone's vacancy level will drop to 2%.
Across the road, The Mall, under the management of JHI Properties, is undergoing a R56m refurbishment to accommodate a new Pick 'n Pay outlet. The adjacent Firs shopping centre largely vacant is also undergoing a refurbishment after losing Pick 'n Pay to The Mall.
Property economist Francois Viruly says the recent advent of the African craft market and pedestrianisation of parts of Cradock Avenue make the area attractive to tourists.
However, the future of Rosebank's retail sector is linked to the performance of the area's office sector, which is under pressure. Much of the retail sector is reliant on lunchtime trade. 'The office sector serves a critical role in maintaining the vibrancy of the node and reduces possibilities of economic obsolescence.'
YFM's entrance could boost the number of visitors to the node, but increasing traffic will not necessarily boost buying power, Viruly warns.
Souris has no illusions about his objectives, saying it will take up to five years to get Rosebank going again. While there is no doubt that The Zone will deliver multitudes of young people to Rosebank, questions remain as to whether this segment will maintain the vibrancy of the area's retail market.


Publisher: Business Day
Source: Business Day

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