Menlyn Park mega-mall towers over continent

Africa''s first mega mall set to open

17 October 2016 | Infrastructure

The African continent this month enters its first draw to compete for the biggest mall on the planet.

When the newly-refurbished R2.5-billion Menlyn Park Shopping Centre opens at the end of next month, it will join the ranks of the biggest shopping centres on the continent.

In addition, Menlyn Park will consolidate Pretoria East''s position of having the biggest formal retail space in South Africa.

The new-look mall also re-enters the retail sector as a strong rival to the three malls which hold the position as the largest shopping malls on the continent.

“This redevelopment is an ambitious undertaking that has been two years in the making, and once complete, the new shopping centre will be the largest mall in Africa,” said Malose Kekana, group chief executive for Menlyn Park owners, Pareto Limited.

Once complete, the mall would have a total lettable floor space of over 170 000m², he said of the 37-year-old centre. “Menlyn Park has been an iconic part of Pretoria''s landscape since its construction in 1979.

“It is a leader in the retail industry and makes a substantial contribution to Tshwane''s economy, while also employing over 3 000 people,” Kekana said.

The redevelopment had been driven by the strong demand for retailers. “They have been enjoying robust trade results year-on-year.”

The mall, Kekana said, brought bigger and better food and entertainment areas and introduced fashion and upmarket grocery options to shoppers. The tenant mix would reflect what shoppers wanted, general manager of the shopping centre, Olive Ndebele said.

“We wanted to enhance our shoppers'' overall experience, from creating multiple access points to VIP customer lounges.”

She said the crown jewel of the refurbished mall was central park, an open-air piazza that would be flanked by restaurants. It was a fine example of the design element, she said, and with its pride of India trees, it would be a meeting point and an events area.

And as the mall prepares to open, it punts itself as the first mega mall in Africa; it presents an additional 50 000m² of retail floor space to increase the total lettable floor space to 180 000m², an increase in stores from about 300 to more than 500, and 8 250 parking bays.

The title of largest retail centre in the country and continent has been up in the air for some time, with the recently opened Mall of Africa claiming it when it opened in April.

The Midrand centre is the largest single-phase shopping centre development to date, at 130 000m² of retail space and a R71 billion budget to complete it.

But at the top of the biggest country''s malls, and hogging the title of biggest on the continent and counted among the top 50 malls in the world is Gateway Theatre of Shopping in KwaZulu-Natal.

Menlyn Park is bigger in terms of gross floor area and its opening would only add on to an already robust shopping experience in Pretoria, and in particular Pretoria east, the SA Commercial Property stated. “Despite a slowing economy, people need their shopping experience, and this provides just that.”


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