New look for shop­ping cen­tre

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - News - Gil­lian McAinsh mcain­shg@ti­soblack­

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.

Pho­to­graph: EU­GENE COET­ZEE

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.

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