Soweto to get R250m shopping mall

SOWETO will continue to benefit from the current retail boom, which is seeing shopping centres springing up in and around Gauteng, with a new R250m shopping mall planned for Jabulani, Soweto.

Called Jabulani Mall and situated on Koma and Bolani roads in the heart of Soweto, the new 30000m² shopping mall will be developed by Greenwold Property Developments.

This is Greenwold's second shopping centre planned for Soweto with the group and a black empowerment partner Roux Property Development having already started the first phase of what will eventually be the 25000m² Protea Gardens shopping mall. This project is situated on the Old Potchefstroom Road on the corner of Alekhine Street on the southeastern side of Soweto.

Greenwold MD Jean Groenewald says the purchase of the Jabulani site from Metropolitan Life has been concluded.

"We needed to do a huge amount of homework to make sure that these two developments won't compete against each other," says Groenewald.

He says Retail Network Services, in charge of the letting at Protea Gardens, together with another company, Market Decisions, has done the necessary demographics and research and confirmed the "market potential in the Jabulani area is exciting".

Gavin Tagg of Retail Network Services says the market potential for the Jabulani Mall is more than R600m a year, and that this is because the population density in the primary trading area is the highest in Soweto.

Tagg says the Jabulani Mall will be anchored by a national supermarket chain which has agreed to occupy 4000m².

There will also be a fashion component which, Tagg says, will comprise about 18000m² of the shopping mall. It will feature national retailers as well as the regional retailers which have proved successful in the traditionally black market.

Tagg says all the major banks are represented at Protea Gardens and expects them to have a presence at the Jabulani Mall.

Groenewald says the Jabulani site has full business rights and they plan to be on site early next year.

Groenewald and Tagg say the Johannesburg city council has identified the Jabulani area as a potential cultural and tourist node.

At present Kliptown, where the Freedom Charter was signed, and the Hector Pieterson Memorial, are the main sites visited by tourists.

Meanwhile, Retail Network Services and Greenwold say the letting at Protea Gardens is going well and that the first phase of Protea Gardens is 95% let.

Phase one of Protea Gardens, which consists of a building area of 21000m², will be opened in April next year.

Soweto is finally on the map as far as the potential for residential, commercial and retail developments is concerned.

In May Business Day reported that greenfield projects for Soweto, worth hundreds of millions of rand, were being facilitated by the City of Johannesburg's property arm, the City of Joburg Property Company.

The developments including residential, commercial and retail are aimed at encouraging businesses previously not represented in Soweto to move in.

Sthembiso Mntungwa, head of economic development for City of Joburg Property Company, said at the time the aim was to encourage everyone from estate agents and retailers to banks to set up in Soweto.

Although the development initiatives are spread throughout Soweto, two of their focus areas are Baralink and Jabulani Centre.

The area known as Baralink is focused on the Old Potchefstroom Road stretching from the N1 highway in the east to Orlando Dam in the west, and includes the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital and the Bara taxi rank.

Development in the Baralink area include the building of about 2000 up-market houses on the land behind Baragwanath Hospital.

Article by: Property Reporter - www.bday.co.za