New look for shopping centre
The first phase of Walmer Park Shopping Centre’s R120m redevelopment is now open to the public and the second phase is due to start in January with a new international retailer taking 1,800m².
“The planned changes will result in a shopping environment that differs from neighbourhood and regional competitors while resolving obsolete cinema space,” Growthpoint property manager Leonie Scheepers said at the opening on Thursday.
“The addition of the international retailer, the first store in Port Elizabeth, will introduce a new fashion trader to the centre which will enhance the trade of Zara and provide a unique trading proposition within Port Elizabeth.”
Growthpoint Properties, which owns and manages the centre, asked tenant Mike Beattie of Tina’s Shoes, in the centre since it opened 30 years ago, to cut the ribbon to the new entrance on Thursday.
The Walmer mall has already undergone six building projects, with the seventh now in full swing by GVK SiyaZama Construction.
The first phase started in March when the internal area of 5,000m² occupied by cinemas and restaurants was demolished.
Scheepers said NuMetro Cinemas had elected not to renew their lease without a “substantial reduction in space” along with a corresponding drop in rent.
She said the opening of Baywest Mall in 2015 had had an effect on the performance of the NuMetro at the Walmer mall.
“Given the marginal performance of cinemas nationally, the option to continue with NuMetro was not recommended, resulting in the current strategy to redevelop certain sections.”
Thursday saw the opening of a new-look Cafe Capellini and Exclusive Books in the former cinema space, with Panarottis and John Dory’s restaurants due to open in December.
Dischem will also expand into the new space along with a Jet Store and Incredible Connection.
Moors, Milne and Kievit Architects have realigned the structure so that the restaurants will face the car park on the William Moffett side of the mall.
Phase two will start in January when the new retailer moves into the spot formerly held by Boardmans, which in turn moves into the existing Edgars store. This should be completed in March 2019.
Phase three will see Standard Bank and PNA move into the space on the eastern side of the mall presently occupied by Dischem, and is due to be complete by July 2019.
The redevelopment brings the total mall space to 43 000m².
MAJOR MAKEOVER: Walmer Park opens the first phase of its new section to the public. Pictured from left are contractor GVK Deon Hatting, Walmer Park Shopping centre manager Leonie Scheepers and architect MMK Greg Milne.