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Repositioning of Sandton City forges ahead

The R1.77 billion first phase of Sandton City shopping centre's repositioning is gathering momentum, as demolition has wrapped up and bulk earthworks gets underway at what some claim to be South Africa's premier retail destination.
Repositioning of Sandton City forges ahead

Scheduled for completion in late 2011, this first phase will effect an extensive refurbishment of the iconic Johannesburg super-regional shopping centre, as well as bringing a further 30 000m² of retail space on-stream, bringing total retail space to 131 000m².

“It's all part of our master vision to ensure the Sandton City complex evolves in response to both global design trends and also its surroundings, its consumers and its retailers,” says Caswell Rampheri, chief operating officer of project developer Liberty Properties. “After all, Sandton City is an enduring asset that blends the best of international and local: in its tenant mix, architecture and design.”

Demolition of the parkade situated off Rivonia Road, was a major undertaking. Some 2,625m² of post-tensioned car park slab was demolished weekly and more than 20 000 tons of building material was removed from the site. Where possible, the material has been recycled and Sandton City has rescued a number of reusable items, such as light fittings, for donation to local charities and community organizations.

“Demolition was achieved on time taking over 39 000 man-hours and we're pleased that it was completed with no accidents or lost-time injuries,” reports Michael Woodruff, director at project manager and principal agent GHC Africa Projects.

The demolition was executed by Wreckers Dismantling.

He adds that the bulk earthwork kicks off the construction of a new basement area, which will allow the expansion of the existing shopping malls. This stage of the project will take about 6.5 months to complete and includes extensive lateral support to surrounding ground levels and existing adjacent structures. Zero Unlimited will undertake the bulk earthworks while Stefanutti Stocks will be responsible for the lateral support and piling.

Shoppers should note that the earthworks won't interfere with the day-to-day functioning of the mall, even though some 230 000m³ of soil and rock will be removed for the basement to be built.

Once the key retail stage is complete, adds Rampheri, later phases will focus on office, residential and hospitality uses. Plans include an estimated 65-storey office tower, a new residential component to enhance the strong mixed-use focus at Sandton City, and a re-alignment of the mall and the adjacent Southern Sun hotel.

The centre, owned by Liberty Group and Pareto Limited with 75% and 25% holdings respectively, has always been a landmark property in Sandton, South Africa and even continental Africa.

With its repositioning, Sandton City is expanding and improving to enhance what it claimed to be its leading position as the world-class, unrivalled shopping and rendezvous destination for millions of local and international visitors as well as leading global and South African retail brands. The long-term vision for the centre is a reaffirmation of Sandton City's premier position.

“Sandton City changed the Sandton skyline when it was first built in the seventies. Our vision is continuing that tradition,” says Rampheri.

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