The development of the R2-billion Bay West Mall is set to unlock dramatic growth in Nelson Mandela Bay, says Bay West City MD Gavin Blows.
He adds that the South African National Roads Agency Limited has committed R300-million to the Bay West City project – a “city within a city”, which will unfold over the next 15 years. The Bay West Mall is the first phase of this project.
Of the R300-million, about R120-million is earmarked for the development of roads for the first phase of the project, with Bay West City carrying a further cost of R150-million to build access routes.
The development of access roads to the site, situated along the N2 in the western suburbs, is expected to begin in April, along with the construction of the mall, says Blows.
Civils work at the site is being undertaken by Mawethu Civils.
“We employed three companies to perform major demographic studies of the Bay ahead of the mall’s development,” says Blows. “We had a look at Bloem-fontein, which has three regional malls, having a gross leasable area of over 50 000 m² each, [and] which trade well, compared with just one regional mall in Nelson Mandela Bay.”
Research shows that Nelson Mandela Bay is in need of another mall as the Eastern Cape city lags nationally in terms of regional retail space versus income levels, and regional retail space versus the number of households, notes Blows.
While Bloemfontein, with its three regional malls, has about 200 000 households, with an average monthly income of under R7 000, the Bay has more than 300 000 households, with an average monthly income exceeding R8 200.
The suburb surrounding the mall site has an average monthly income of more than R20 000, says Blows.
“Bay West Mall has secured 250 tenants, of which 85% are major national retailers. “There are exciting new fashion brands – some from the likes found in Sandton and Cape Town.
“It is also important for us to maximise use of natural light and energy efficiency within the mall. “Great care has been taken in meeting the best practice principles for energy use set by the industry.”
For ease of access from the N2 and feeder roads, four main entrances will be constructed. Double-level structured parking will surround the mall, providing shoppers with parking close to mall entrances.
One of the major new routes being unlocked by the development is the Redhouse Chelsea arterial road, linking the Bay’s western suburbs across the N2 from Walker drive to Cape road, says Blows.New Arterial Road
He says this major new arterial road is expected to be a catalyst for growth in the area and will alleviate congestion.
Also included in the plans for Phase 1 is the development around the mall of a high street-styled promenade, office complexes, retail and secure residential precincts, as well as a 25 000 m² hospital precinct.
During the construction phase of the mall, more than 10 000 direct and indirect jobs would be created, notes Blows.
About 1 500 permanent jobs will be created on completion of the Bay West Mall, which will have an 85 000 m² gross leasable area.