Retail refocus paying off for former Waterfront

Posted On Wednesday, 26 November 2003 02:00 Published by
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DOUBT about the success of the newly launched Brightwater Commons, formerly known as the Randburg Waterfront, has been quelled

Property Reporter

DOUBT about the success of the newly launched Brightwater Commons, formerly known as the Randburg Waterfront, has been quelled with the retail centre reporting a major turnaround since the launch of phase one under the new name last month.

The lack of focus and integration has created problems at artificial waterfronts in the past and developments with clearly defined identities either retail or entertainment seem to work best.

Phase one has included the draining of the lake at the centre of the development and filling it with soil. The centre now has a landscaped core complete with 6m-high canary palms and other trees, bushes and plants and a grassy commons. A smaller, shallower, body of water has replaced the lake, while the musical fountains have been reinstalled.

Brightwater Commons marketing consultant Cheryl Adamson says the public response to the new "urban parkland" has been "extremely positive".

She says Halloween was celebrated with an attendance of 14000 people, and families with children are visiting the area regularly.

She says that, as expected, the new centre is experiencing a shift in demographics and this has been noted by anchor tenant Pick 'n Pay, which has also reported its first "good month" since the refurbishment. She says new tenants such as Ladder of Learning are experiencing turnovers that compare favourably with some of their other outlets.

Adamson says this new category is supported by children's clothing and accessories stores, Boo and Bambinis, as well as a sci-fi bookstore Otherland, The Box Shop, and computer games and IT-related stores AnimeWorx and Zaps. There are 20 new tenants in phase one, says Adamson.

"The decision to eliminate (night) clubs was one of the first things we did in terms of correcting the tenant mix," says Adamson.

The former Randburg Waterfront had a hefty entertainment component, but at Brightwater Commons the emphasis is on a balance between traditional retail and leisure/entertainment.

There are fewer entertainment facilities and the emphasis is now on family pubs and restaurants. Adamson says Scrooge and McGintys have been joined by Hombaze, a restaurant specialising in African cuisine, Havannah Cuban Bistro, The Innkeepers Table and a Mamamia's ice cream parlour.

"When the Randburg Waterfront opened seven years ago, there were more than 60 restaurants. We've switched it around. We've got an ideal outside area and although the Brightwater Commons could sustain more restaurants than most developments, we are still being very careful," Adamson says.

While retail makes up about 77% of the centre versus about 23% restaurants and entertainment, when phase two is complete, the restaurant proportion will make up about 10% of the entire centre.

She says it will take some time to build up foot traffic again, but they are confident that it will continue increasing. Since phase one's launch, interest in phase two has taken off.

Phase two will concentrate on retail and will see a new major tenant on the southeast side of the centre, the possible introduction of "market sheds" in the central area and the relocation of the flea market, which is now on the upper level.

The balance of the facades will be treated simultaneously with the installation of new tenants within these areas.

Nov 26 2003 07:24:53:000AM Nick Wilson Business Day 1st Edition

Publisher: Business Day
Source: Business Day

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