R1.4bn BT Ngebs City mall in Mthatha just the start for Billion Group

Posted On Monday, 29 June 2015 14:59 Published by
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Developer Billion Group says its R1.4bn BT Ngebs City mall in Mthatha, Eastern Cape, has opened.


BT Ngebs

The 60,000m² project is part of a R16bn investment earmarked for the Eastern Cape over the next 10 years. Sizeable new malls have sprung up across SA, with retailers embarking on aggressive space expansion to grow market share amid a slowdown in spending, as escalating living costs and debt weigh.

Billion CEO Sisa Ngebulana said the group’s research pointed to a 240,000m² undersupply in retail in Mthatha. “Retail sales in Mthatha are one of the highest in the country; retailers are streaming through and they want more space the space they have in town is not enough and they can’t expand where they are.” The 60,000m² built was the initial phase of the mall “which will enable it to grow into something much bigger, which I foresee in the next three years”.

The mall’s tenants include Spitz, Fabiani and GSTAR. Phase two is under way and includes a 100-room, fourstar hotel, due to open next year, as well as 10,000m² of office space. Mr Ngebulana, who is also the CE of JSE-listed Rebosis Property Fund, said “a comprehensive mix of tenants, including retail, fashion, banking, homeware, health, sports and entertainment will ensure this development caters to all 478,000 households in the catchment area”.

The mall, inspired by his entrepreneurial grandfather, Tandi “BT” Ngebulana, who hails from the former homeland Transkei, adds to Billion’s retail portfolio, joining its super-regional Hemingways in East London and Mdantsane City in East London. Last month Billion, in a joint venture with Abacus Asset Management, opened the 90,000m² Baywest Mall on the western outskirts of Port Elizabeth.

With tenants such as Swarovski, Lacoste and Dune, the R2bn mall will anchor the broader Baywest City, a new 320ha suburb, which will have a hospital, residential properties, offices and two service stations. Billion Group also has a retail presence in Nigeria and Tanzania, as well as the UK. 

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