The acquisition of the franchise was by the centre's property services company, Broll Property Group. "It's an exciting new draw card for the centre boasting not just Spanish food but a Catalonian experience, complete with decor and dancing," says Preston Gaddy, Broll's divisional director of strategic retail leasing.
"The franchise concept comes out of Durban, but Joburg-based entrepreneur Terence Naidu is behind the first outlet in Gauteng, where he is the master licence holder. The Colony needed a new addition like this that would bring something new to Joburg and attract new shoppers to the centre."
James Templeton, CEO of Emira, agrees, saying the opening was timed well to coincide with the cosmetic revamp of The Colony. "The revamp, completed earlier this year, focused on areas frequented by customers such as the walkways and ablutions. More lighting was added as well as new signage, improved gardens and security to the centre.
"As a result of the revamp, the centre has definitely been put on the map. The existing tenants are experiencing improved turnovers because of increased foot traffic. The Colony is now fully let. Wide varieties of consumers are attracted to the centre, from the loyal followers of Pronto Italian Deli Restaurant and Hodges Coffee House to the enthusiasts of The Fred Astaire Dance Studio."
Other new additions to the centre include Living Yoga, Energy Emporium and the Vajrapani Buddhist Centre. VickyCristina's takes up 388 square metres of space in the area that was once home to Jane's Linen.
As the master license holder for VickyCristina's in Gauteng, Naidu says he plans to open two to three more outlets in the province. However, he wants to 'bed-down' his first flagship outlet.
"The bar only officially opened on 26 June and, while it has been well received as our first outlet in Gauteng, it is going to be our priority for now.
"We are bringing an exciting new restaurant offering to Joburg, which has been starved of a unique Spanish offering and diversity. It is based on the Spanish tapas concept of sharing small portions, but multiple dishes of foods in a lively setting.
"The Colony is not only home to the first VickyCristina's in Gauteng, but as a casual dining experience it will also have a 'Conquesta' bar where salsa dancing and other entertainment will be part of the mix," he concludes.