Wernhil Park turns 25 years
21 August 2015 | Business
The Ohlthaver & List (O&L) Group and its property services company Broll Namibia this month celebrate the 25th anniversary of its landmark Wernhil Park complex in Windhoek.
The country’s first venture into one-stop shopping first opened its doors in August 1990, at 18 000 square metres and hosting 54 shops. Two upgrades saw it grow to 86 shops and 36 500 square metres.
“The Founding President and Father of the Nation, Dr Sam Nujoma, cut the ribbon at the festive ceremony in August 1990 to mark the official opening of the brand new Wernhil Park Shopping Mall,” Broll Namibia Marketing and Public Relations Manager Sylvia Rusch said on Wednesday.
“At that stage, and from a Namibian perspective, it was a massive ‘one-stop-shopping complex’, housing 54 shops and other businesses and had been completed two months ahead of schedule.” Wernhil Park’s flagship store at the time was the Model Super Store, today known as Pick n Pay Namibia.
“The Wernhil Park development started in 1988,” Rusch said, adding that the project formed part of the City of Windhoek’s CBD masterplan, which included other developments such as Post Street Mall.
“The City of Windhoek was looking for a magnet which could be developed at the end of the planned Post Street Mall along Mandume Ndemufayo Avenue,” Rusch said.
“The O&L Group was a trendsetter as, shortly after their investment, other investors saw opportunities and the Sanlam Building, Mutual Platz and Channel Life building were constructed, all more or less at the same time.”
The first upgrade happened in July 2007, when the Group invested N$79.8 million, followed by a third phase of development that started in May 2010 and was completed in August 2011.
Besides adding 16 000 square metres of retail space, the final upgrade also added 800 parking bays.
A number of businesses that started operating in the mall at its opening in 1990 are still tenants of the building, including Pick n Pay, Medisun Pharmacy, Ackermans, Woolworths, Jet, Ins Wiener and Optic Exclusive.
WINDHOEK DENVER ISAACS