South Africa shopping malls construction frenzy

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Africa has seen a wave of retail construction activity in recent years which has delivered the first generation of modern shopping malls in many major cities. The developers of these malls are in a hurry to meet the high growth of the middle class which has tripled over the last 30 years to 313 million people, or more than 34 % of the continent’s population.

South Africa has not been left behind with country having seen numerous shopping malls completed on ongoing.

South Africa’s retail sector is the third most important contributor to the country’s GDP and Amanda Stops, chief executive officer, South African Council of Shopping Centres (SACSC) says South Africans expect to see construction of more shopping centres as retailers roll out new stores to unlock markets, despite a sluggish economy.

According to the South African Council of Shopping Centres (SACSC) new, large shopping centre developments will be focused in South Africa’s metropolitan areas with the highest population growth figures including Johannesburg, Cape Town, eThekwini and Tshwane impacting the needs for housing, job creation, schools and general infrastructure.

Around 72% of these larger shopping centres are located in five metropolitan areas and the rest are mainly in cities, with only 3 percent in rural areas.

“For the next two years, new shopping centres bigger than 30,000 square metres including several greenfield developments of large regional shopping centres on the fringes of our metropolitan areas and residential growth in their immediate vicinity will drive the sustainability of these centres,” she says.

Stops notes that shopping centre development plans underway for 2013 to 2014 will create some 600,000 square metres more retail space in shopping centres over 30, 000 square metres alone. Total retail space in shopping centres above 30 000 square metres increased from 1.8 million square metres in 1993 to over 7.8 million square metres in 2012 – a growth rate of 7.8 percent a year.

In 2012 the Billion Group embarked on construction of the Forest Hill City in Centurion, a staggering 72,000 square metre mixed-use commercial development. In May 2014, the Group, a leading Black owned property development company opened its Forest Hill City mall, set within the Forest Hill City precinct, located on a major interchange, spanning 1km along the N14 highway and 300 metres along the R55 in Monavoni, Centurion, south west of Pretoria.

Construction of the US$81.3m, 52, 000 square metres Springs mall will soon begin at Springs Eco Park. The mall will be a regional shopping centre serving the greater springs area in Ekurhuleni east of Gauteng. Some of the malls completed or about to completed include the 18,220 square metre Jozini Mall in KwaZulu-Natal, US$61m Heidelberg Mall, Seshego Mall on the outskirts of Polokwane in Limpopo, Moruleng Mall in the North West, Mayfield Square in Daveyton Gauteng, Tugela Ferry Shopping Centre in KwaZulu-Natal, Dihlabeng Mall in Bethlehem Free State and Kinako Mall in Port Elizabeth among others.

Boasting higher population growth and household income than other provinces in South Africa, Gauteng and the Western Cape will be the focus of shopping centre development in coming years.

Property consultancy Knight Frank projects that further and larger shopping centres can be expected in Africa as developers look to meet the demand for high-quality shopping experience.