Bigger and better V&A now ready
Retail trade performance managed to improve amid innovative R140m construction
IN A R140 million upgrade to its Victoria Wharf Shopping Centre, the V&A Waterfront managed to improve its retail trade performance over the nine-month construction period and increase the number of visitors to the centre over the same period.
T h e c o mple t e d e x p a n s i o n includes the reconfiguring of a section of the lower ground level for a new 6 500m² Pick n Pay, a pedestrian and vehicular tunnel under a major access road to create a super basement, and a steel structure suspended from roof trusses to create a link between two existing malls and double-volume shop fronts.
Faced with growing demand for retail space and a long waiting list of local and international retailers, the Waterfront needed to accommodate the demand without increasing its footprint, while limiting disruption to day-to-day trade. The solution was to densify within the existing building envelope.
V&A Waterfront chief executive David Green says the overall retail strategy has been to refresh the shopping experience and maximise the interest expressed by new local and foreign retailers looking for space in Victoria Wharf.
“Development work in this case was necessary to increase the gross lettable area (GLA) and improve visitor access and overall convenience. Retail sales performance from July to September is up by 19.5 percent over the same period last year, and visitor numbers to Victoria Wharf grew by 15.2 percent.
“The GLA has increased by 7 800m² across the new Pick n Pay and the Cross Mall link. Pick n Pay’s trading area has increased by 45 percent to 4 300m², and Witchery and Mimco by Woolworths, and Tom Tailor and Lucky Brand for Edgars will be introduced as shop-in-shops in the 1 300m² retail space created by the Cross Mall development. Sus- pended above the existing delivery area, the Cross Mall link introduces the double-height shopfront concept to the Victoria Wharf while retaining the design aesthetics of the existing centre. For the first time in its 20-year history, Victoria Wharf will trade on four levels.”
Green says the 2 950m ² space vacated by Pick n Pay will be reconfigured for Mr Price and Australian brand Cotton On. Both are expected to open in the second quarter of next year.
In the original design of the Victoria Wharf, architect Louis Karol’s intention was to allow for a floor below, so a portion of the existing ground-floor slab was filled with precast concrete strips that could be easily removed to install new lifts in the basement. The rest of the structure is post-tensioned so would have been difficult to cut open.
This forward thinking design element meant the construction team needed only one evening to remove the planks to open up the necessary space to install the escalator.
Large chiller pipes and storm water pipes were diverted to the outside in a service ring, and other services that cross Breakwater Boulevard, such as high- voltage power cables, Telkom ducts and water pipes, also had to be rerouted. Although challenging, the careful design of the tunnel link has proved to be worth the effort as it has created a generous pedestrian walkway almost as wide as the car lanes.
Creating the tunnel below Breakwater Boulevard had its own challenges as the two parking garages are at different levels, and so required extensive ramps.
Constructing a new slab at firstfloor level above an extremely busy existing delivery yard posed some problems.
The ventilation for the yard needed to be ducted elsewhere, putting extra pressure on the basement below, and the sprinkler mains for the entire centre had to be rerouted to make space for extra delivery bays for Pick n Pay.
Designing a new structure that did not put undue pressure on the existing walls was yet another challenge.
A steel structure was suspended from the roof trusses, instead of being conventionally supported by columns below, which enables the structure to span substantial distances.
The floor, which is also hung from the steel frame, is constructed out of a steel corrugated roof sheet topped with a thin layer of concrete.
The results of a recent economic impact study indicated that the V&A Waterfront has contributed about R198 billion to the national economy during the last 10 years and new developments, which include the Victoria Wharf extension, could contribute a cumulative R188bn to nominal GDP by 2023.
GOING UP: The completed expansion includes the reconfiguring of a section of the lower ground level for a new 6 500m² Pick n Pay, and a pedestrian and vehicular tunnel under a major access road to create a super-basement.