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Monday Feb 10, 2014

Townships targeted for shopping malls

South Africa's townships are increasingly being preferred over upper-income suburbs for the development of convenience shopping centres.

Ebony Park in Midrand.

According to developers, city suburbs are increasingly saturated with shopping centres, whereas demand for similar centres in townships is increasing.

Township shopping centre development is yielding positive results for us, says Jordan Mann, director of national development group NuHold, which owns Krisp Properties and Nu-Way Housing.

Nu-Hold has several successful developments completed and under way around South Africa, including the R500 million Clearwater Office Park along Atlas Road, near the OR Tambo Aerotropolis, and the planned Olifantsfontein Industrial Development near Joburg for which town planning has recently been approved.

The group is also in the advanced planning stages of developing a R6 billion 'city within a city' holistic, upmarket and affordable housing estate, constructed over 15 years, on the outskirts of Nelson Mandela Bay, on a 3 200-hectare site. The plans include provision for light industrial space, a regional shopping centre, clinics, a hospital, a technical college and university, student accommodation, a sports academy and office space.

Krisp and sister company NuWay are set to break ground on a 5 000m² shopping centre in Cape Town's Langa township later this year, alongside the revamped Langa train station. The group has also received the go-ahead from Joburg municipal authorities for the residential and retail development on 12ha of land along the R55 in Olievenhoutbos.

The residential component of Olievenhoutbos, built by Nu-Way, would consist of 114 stands of about 200m² each, as well as space for an 'institutional stand' that could consist of a church or community centre, says Mann.

Krisp Properties will be responsible for the development of a 9 000m² neighbourhood shopping centre called Olive Wood.

The group was among the first private developers in the country to invest in convenient township shopping centres in the early 1990s when it broke ground in Joburg's Ebony Park, an affordable, low-cost housing township.

'When we did that, we put aside space for the retail development to create employment when the residential stands were completed,' says Mann.

'When Krisp Properties broke ground on Ebony Park Shopping Centre after completing the residential development, work began on a 2 500m² Super Spar. Following demand from the community Krisp has since expanded the centre into a 4 600m² development consisting of a food anchor, a clinic, a pharmacy, banks and ATMs, a hardware store, a community IT training centre, a post office and various other line shops.

'The demand for such developments in the township continues to grow. Residents want the same convenient shopping that is available in the suburbs,' Mann says.

Mike Ioannou, managing director of the principal contractor on Ebony Park, Aura Developers Consortium, says that before the project broke ground, there were few shops and they were very expensive for the community. Residents had to travel long distances to do their shopping.

'After the first phase of Spar was completed, it became obvious that the project was successful for the developers as well as the tenants. Most important for the community was that they could do their shopping conveniently, and jobs were created. There is definitely a great demand for township shopping centres, which, in turn, add value to the communities they serve.'

Mann says he is hoping to break ground on the Langa Shopping Centre by mid-year.

'We are addressing a major need for retail in the area. Retailers have been clamouring for us to get this centre up and running,' says Mann.

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition)


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