Zille relaunches Liberty Promenade
Mitchells Plain shopping centre officially reopened after two-year, R500 million upgrade
LIBERTY PROMENADE Shopping Centre was relaunched last month by Western Cape Premier Helen Zille following a R500 million expansion project that turned the Mitchells Plain complex into the second-largest shopping centre in the province.
The l aunch event in Liberty Promenade’s new food court was hosted by Liberty Properties chief executive Samuel Ogbu and the general manager of coastal regions at Liberty Properties, Thea Marx.
Liberty Promenade is one of the largest shopping centres in Liberty Properties’ R24 billion 1.5 million square metre portfolio. The portfolio also includes Sandton City, Nelson Mandela Square and Eastgate shopping centre in Gauteng, Liberty Midlands Mall in Pietermaritzburg and Greenacres in Port Elizabeth.
In the past eight years Liberty Promenade has established itself as the centre of a diverse and fastgrowing community, and attracts one million visitors a month.
Zille said if investments such as Liberty Promenade flourished they created a “virtuous cycle” that could push back negative developments in South Africa.
“In South Africa the good news always outweighs the bad news. And Cape Town is on a roll, having been voted the top global tourist city by Tripadvisor, World Design Capital 2014, and one of the 10 hippest cities in the world – meaning it attracts young talent that want to build a future in Cape Town, signifying a reversal of the brain drain Cape Town saw 10 years ago.
“Table Mountain has been voted one of the seven natural wonders of the world, and Cape Town is rated in the top 10 study abroad destinations.
“But the cherry on top is when big investors such as Liberty Properties come to Cape Town. We are very encouraged by Liberty Properties’ assessment that Cape Town, and Mitchells Plain, are great places to invest. We will not rest until we are among the top 10 investment destinations in the world.”
Z i l l e s a i d i nve s t o r s we r e attracted to places where the government was seen as more or less cor r uption- f ree, where t hings worked and where there was economic growth.
She was pleased that Liberty Promenade had created 1 200 permanent jobs for locals in the past few years and this had boosted the local economy.
Ogbu said: “This is an invest- ment not only Mitchells Plan and Liberty can be proud of, but that South Africa can be proud of.”
“Investment in infrastructure, facilities and services is key to improving quality of life and an essential part of uplifting areas such as Mitchells Plain, which previously did not attract their fair share of investment capital.”
Liberty Properties bought the centre from its developers in 2004 with retail space of 42 000m but the centre’s instant success called for rapid expansion. By September the following year a second phase of development had been completed, adding 11 000m Today, with the addition of a new entertainment wing and food court, another 24 000m2 – equivalent to five football fields – have been added to Liberty Promenade.
The shopping centre is the second largest in the province and the largest in a high- density urban neighbourhood, at about 86 000m
Ogbu said: “We have conducted extensive research into the market and our experience has shown that if you present an offering of sustained quality, the people of Mitchells Plain will support you. We take a very careful approach to these things because we represent hundreds of t housands o f o r d i nary South African savers and pensioners.
“The extension and refurbish- ment has entrenched the centre’s status as the preferred shopping destination of the Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha communities.”
Marx said: “Our R500m investment directly benefits the community, as 67 percent of the expansion project’s general workforce were e mp l o y e d f r o m t h e b r o a d e r Mitchells Plain, Khayelitsha and Philippi areas.
“The investment is also beneficial to the local community, because eight of the sub-contractors employed to assist in the construction project were local to the area, ensuring that the investment went directly into the pockets of those that the centre was built for.”
Marx said local businesses and schools also received donated reusable items that were salvaged from the construction project.
The centre now houses 185 tenants. In addition to the 1 200 jobs created, the main shopping centre is also creating room for selected local entrepreneurs who previously traded informally in the Mini Mall and earned a place in the main building.
“Not only has the centre created many jobs, but it has become a safe, clean and entertaining gathering place for the community. Community upliftment is an important part of Liberty’s plan, and on this project we have worked closely with the local council on the Mitchells Plain urban renewal initiative,” Ogbu said.
Commuters also benefit from a refurbished and covered taxi rank, and shoppers with cars are assured of increased security with the addition of CCTV in the parking area and the appointment of additional security personnel outside.
On top of entertainment and shops, the centre also offers a medical centre.
Liberty Promenade i nvests R250 000 in the community annually. Doing business by the slogan “All together better”, Liberty Promenade’s corporate social investment projects include the Generation Green Campaign t o encourage schools to think green, the Mitchells Plain night market, the Back to School Campaign, Senior Citizens Christmas, the Women’s Day Craft Market, the Christmas Shoebox Project, the Christmas Street Market, Drug Awareness Day with the South African National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence and the Department of Social Development, an Easter Egg Drive and other ad hoc donations.
Liberty Promenade is running a comprehensive safety campaign this festive season. The centre is working closely with all law enforcement agencies and has employed extra security personnel.
WELCOME: Samuel Ogbu and Thea Marx (Liberty Properties) greet Helen Zille outside the revamped Liberty Promenade Shopping Centre in Mitchells Plain.