Big­ger and bet­ter V&A now ready

Re­tail trade per­for­mance man­aged to im­prove amid in­no­va­tive R140m con­struc­tion

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - PROPERTY - SATUR­DAY

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.

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