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Menlyn Park Shopping Centre set to become largest mall in Africa

Once complete, the newly refurbished Menlyn Park Shopping Centre will be the largest mall in Africa, with a total lettable floor space of over 170,000m2. The launch is set for 24 November.

“The redevelopment of Menlyn Park Shopping Centre was driven by a strong demand from retailers, as they’re enjoying robust trade results year-on-year,” says Malose Kekana, group CEO for Pareto Limited, owner of the centre. Pareto Limited, a black-owned, black-managed property company, purchased Menlyn Park Shopping Centre in 2015.

Malose Kekana, group CEO for Pareto Limited
Malose Kekana, group CEO for Pareto Limited

The shopping centre is in Tshwane where a buoyant consumer market, driven by above-inflation wages and relatively low inflation, has boosted spending power in the region.

“Menlyn Park has been an iconic part of Pretoria’s landscape since its construction in 1979,” says Kekana. “It’s a leader in the retail industry and makes a substantial contribution to Tshwane’s economy, while also employing over 3,000 people.”

Use of natural light

To take advantage of Pretoria’s sunny climate, natural light was incorporated into the design and look of the centre. The Central Park, an open-air piazza that will be flanked by restaurants, is an example of this design element. Planted with Pride of India trees, the piazza will be a meeting point and an events area. “Creating a green space for the city was paramount in our development,” explains Kekana.

Central Park
Central Park

The focus of the redevelopment was to enlarge the food and entertainment areas, as well as introduce a fashion wing and upmarket grocery options. This, says Olive Ndebele, general manager of the shopping centre, was to provide a tenant mix that “reflected what our shoppers desired”. “We wanted to enhance our shoppers’ overall experience, from creating multiple access points to VIP customer lounges.” “We remain the base to the majority of national flagship stores,” explains Ndebele.

The expansion has also created a more spacious atmosphere, giving tenants the opportunity to house their flagship stores.

Pause areas are located throughout the centre, while concierge desks help with navigation. Ample parking bays and car-charging stations have been included in the expansion.

Two phases

Cavendish Court
Cavendish Court

Charl Marais, development manager of Menlyn Park Shopping Centre, says, “We have worked extremely hard to ensure that very little disruption occurred during the refurbishment, to both tenants and shoppers, so the work was done in two phases.” Phase one comprised of the reconfiguration of the old event arena into the new food court, as well as the launch of the new fashion wing and Grocery Avenue, in June 2015. An additional 50,000m2 in retail space and 8,250 parking bays were added.

Eco-friendliness was a hallmark of the redevelopment. “The development and professional teams involved went to great lengths to ensure that every aspect of the construction and final building followed sustainable guidelines,” says Marais. Menlyn Park Shopping Centre was awarded a four-star Green Star Retail Design rating by the Green Building Council of South Africa for the first building phase.

Phase two, which started last June, included partial demolition of the existing centre to link the retail extension completed in phase one in the west with the existing areas in the east. During this second phase, Menlyn Park Shopping Centre introduced a concierge programme to minimise inconvenience to shoppers. “During a refurbishment project such as this, it’s important to make sure that shoppers are well-informed of the processes that are underway,” says Ndebele.

Some of the new tenants that will be making Menlyn their residence are H&M, Zara, Dischem, Hamleys, Krispy Kreme, Hard Rock Café and South African designer Burgundy Fly.

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