Countdown To Opening Of New Menlyn Park Shopping Centre

The R2.5-billion refurbishment of Menlyn Park Shopping Centre, set to open the 24 November 2016, will cement its place as Africa’s largest mall with a total lettable floor space of over 170 000m2. The focus of the redevelopment was to enlarge the food and entertainment areas, as well as introduce a fashion wing and upmarket grocery options. Menlyn Park Shopping Centre will be home to 500 stores.

By the end of 2016, Menlyn Park Shopping Centre’s R2-billion expansion and refurbishment will add 50 000m2 and 200 stores, making Menlyn Park will be the largest shopping mall in Africa.

The R2.5-billion redevelopment of the Menlyn Park Shopping Centre is an ambitious undertaking that has been two years in the making. Once complete, the new shopping centre will be the largest mall in Africa, with a total lettable floor space of over 170 000m2.

“The redevelopment of Menlyn Park Shopping Centre was driven by a strong demand from retailers, as they’re enjoying robust trade results year-on-year,” says Malose Kekana, group CEO for Pareto Limited, owner of the centre. Pareto Limited, Africa’s first black-owned black-managed property company, who purchased Menlyn Park Shopping Centre in 2015.

The shopping centre is in Tshwane, the metropolitan municipality with the fastest-growing gross domestic product (GDP) in South Africa, as well the youngest population. A buoyant consumer market, driven by above-inflation wages and relatively low inflation, has boosted spending power in the region. And the capital city of Pretoria has the highest number of embassies in South Africa, and a parallel demand for a truly superior shopping experience.

“Menlyn Park has been an iconic part of Pretoria’s landscape since its construction in 1979,” says Kekana. “It’s a leader in the retail industry and makes a substantial contribution to Tshwane’s economy, while also employing over 3 000 people.”

To take advantage of Pretoria’s sunny climate, natural light was incorporated into the design and look of the centre. The crown jewel of the refurbished mall, Central Park, an open-air piazza that will be flanked by restaurants, is a fine example of this design element. Planted with Pride of India trees, piazza will be a meeting point and a magnificent events area. “Creating a green space for the city was paramount in our development,” explains Kekana.

The focus of the redevelopment was to enlarge the food and entertainment areas, as well as introduce a fashion wing and upmarket grocery options. This, says Olive Ndebele, general manager of the shopping centre, was to provide a tenant mix that “reflected what our shoppers desired.” “We wanted to enhance our shoppers’ overall experience, from creating multiple access points to VIP customer lounges.” “We remain the base to the majority of national flagship stores.” explains Ndebele.

The expansion has also created a more spacious atmosphere, giving tenants the opportunity to house their flagship stores.

Pause areas are located throughout the centre, while concierge desks make navigating easy. Ample parking bays and car-charging stations have been included in the expansion, giving the ultimate customer experience.

Charl Marais, development manager of Menlyn Park Shopping Centre, says, “We have worked extremely hard to ensure that very little disruption occurred during the refurbishment, to both tenants and shoppers, so the work was done in two phases.” Phase 1 comprised of the reconfiguration of the old event arena into the new food court, as well as the launch of the new fashion wing and Grocery Avenue, in June 2015. An additional 50 000m2 in retail space and 8 250 parking bays were added.

Eco-friendliness was a hallmark of the redevelopment. “The development and professional teams involved went to great lengths to ensure that every aspect of the construction and final building followed sustainable guidelines,” says Marais. Menlyn Park Shopping Centre was awarded a 4-star Green Star Retail Design rating by the Green Building Council of South Africa for the first building phase.

Phase 2, which started last June, included partial demolition of the existing centre to link the retail extension completed in phase 1 in the west with the existing areas in the east. During this second phase, Menlyn Park Shopping Centre introduced a concierge programme to minimise inconvenience to shoppers. “During a refurbishment project such as this, it’s important to make sure that shoppers are well informed of the processes that are underway,” says Ndebele. A team of fully trained concierge ambassadors are stationed at the busiest nodes of the mall to advise and guide shoppers during trading hours, seven days a week.

Once completed, Menlyn Park Shopping Centre will be home to 500 stores. Tenants that have been loyal to the centre during redevelopment include Poetry, Clicks, Ackermans and Mr Price Home, which moved for 18 months to temporary premises at The Village on Parking Level 5. Some of the new tenants that will be making Menlyn their residence are H&M, Zara, Dischem, Hamleys, Krispy Kreme, Hard Rock Café and South African designer Burgundy Fly. “These additions add a dynamic element to our already extensive offering,” says Ndebele.

Menlyn Park Shopping Centre has introduced extended shopping hours to cater for their customers’ busy schedules. The centre will be open from 9am to 9pm every day except for public holidays, when it will close at 5pm.

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