The development of the R2-billion Bay West Mall is set to unlock dramatic growth in Nelson Mandela Bay, Bay West City MD Gavin Blows told a PwC Investment Seminar held in the city this week.
He added that the South African National Roads Agency Limited had committed R300-million to the Bay West City project – a “city within a city”, which will unfold over the next 15 years. The Bay West Mall is the first phase in this project.
Of this R300-million, about R120-million was earmarked for the development of roads for the first phase of the project, with Bay West City carrying a further cost of R150-million to build access routes.
The development of access roads to the site, situated along the N2 in the western suburbs, is expected to begin in April, along with the construction of the mall, said Blows.
Civils work at the site was being undertaken by Mawethu Civils.
“We employed three companies to perform major demographic studies of the Bay ahead of the mall’s development,” said Blows. “We had a look at Bloemfontein, which has three regional malls, having a gross leasable area of over 50 000 m² each, [and] which trade well, compared with just one regional mall in Nelson Mandela Bay.”
Research showed that Nelson Mandela Bay was in need of another mall as the Eastern Cape city lagged nationally in terms of regional retail space versus income levels, and regional retail space versus the number of households, noted Blows.
While Bloemfontein with its three regional malls had about 200 000 households, with an average monthly income of under R7 000, the Bay had more than 300 000 households, with an average monthly income exceeding R8 200.
The suburb surrounding the mall site had an average monthly income of more than R20 000, said Blows.
“Bay West Mall has secured 250 tenants, of which 85% are major national retailers. There are exciting new fashion brands included in that – some from the likes found in Sandton and Cape Town.
“It was also important for us to maximise use of natural light and energy efficiency within the mall. Great care has been taken in meeting the best practise principles for energy usage set by the industry.”
For ease of access from the N2 and feeder roads, four main entrances would be constructed. Double-level structured parking would surround the mall, providing shoppers with parking close to mall entrances.
One of the major new routes being unlocked by the development was the Redhouse Chelsea arterial road, linking the Bay’s western suburbs across the N2 from Walker Drive to Cape Road, said Blows.
He said this major new arterial road was expected to be a catalyst for growth in the area and would alleviate congestion.
Also included in plans for the Phase 1 of development around the mall was a high street-styled promenade, office complexes, retail and secure residential precincts, as well as a 25 000 m² hospital precinct.
During the construction phase of the mall, more than 10 000 direct and indirect jobs would be created, noted Blows.
About 1 500 permanent jobs would be created on completion of the Bay West Mall, which would have an 85 000 m² gross leasable area.
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