The iconic Mall of Africa opened its doors for business in Waterfall City on 28 April. The 131 038 m2 mall marks the largest first phase completion of a mall ever in South Africa, boasts more than 300 outlets, is host to some of the world’s most famous retail brands and is valued at R4,9 billion upon opening for trade.
“The opening of this iconic mega mall, marks a significant strategic milestone for retail in South Africa and indeed takes the African retail experience to a total next level,” says Morné Wilken, chief executive officer of Attacq. “As the 80% owner of Mall of Africa, the opening of the Mall of Africa marks a significant business milestone for Attacq and our business environment. Mall of Africa is a world-class lifestyle and retail destination, bringing significant value to the offering of the Gauteng province as the southern African sub-continent’s commercial powerhouse,” says Wilken.
The Mall of Africa was officially opened during a select breakfast opening ceremony by the Premier of Gauteng, Mr David Makura with a larger scale mall launch celebration planned in May 2016. Commenting on the Mall of Africa development, Louis van der Watt, CEO of Atterbury says: “In line with the Atterbury vision to create working, shopping and entertainment spaces for everyone to live to their full potential, the development of this breath-taking shopping and leisure destination introduces an unmissable, unmatched retail experience.
Mall of Africa’s exceptional scale, design, location and retail mix places it at the forefront of development.” Mall of Africa boasts great shopping, many lifestyle features, events infrastructure and attractive surrounding environments and landscaped gardens. Mall of Africa with its unique experience-based architecture holds a lot of excitement. Conservative estimates indicate that around 15 million people will visit the destination mall annually to enjoy a world-class blue chip shopping experience. In addition to a vast array of both local and international brands Mall of Africa also boasts uniquely identified court areas made for easy shopping navigation as well as exceptional access, location and visibility.
Mall of Africa has an elegant design enhancing the environment it is positioned within. The mall’s architectural appearance is inspired by Africa’s geological features and landscapes. The layout of the mall is both straight and curved with a racetrack circulation. A central spine links a variety of offerings beneath a large and dramatic environmentally friendly roof covering. This dramatic glazed roof feature is said to be one of the largest of its kind in the world and spectacular lighting design will add more drama for those visiting the Mall of Africa after dusk.
Mall of Africa can be accessed through 26 entrances; has 50 sets of lifts, hoists and tenant lift facilities and 40 escalators in Mall of Africa and within tenant stores. The brands on offer include Cotton On, H&M, and Forever 21 with fabulous international brands like Forever New, River Island, Mango and Versace. South African brands include the Foschini Group, Mr Price and Truworths, while anchors for the Mall include national favourites Woolworths, Edgars, Checkers and Game. Super exciting is the first offering in South Africa of Armani Exchange, Helly Hansen, Asics, Zara Home, The Kooples, Under Armour, Mango Man and Amsterdam-based Soap Stories to mention a few.
The Mall of Africa will also offer a vibrant and lively family orientated relaxation and entertainment park and children’s play area. The park is designed to bring families, friends and colleagues together by providing an area where they can enjoy nature and picnics within walking distance of their offices or homes. In addition to this an interactive musical water fountain will provide an entertainment element for children as well as adults.
Van der Watt adds: “The development has enhanced the diversity of the retail sector in South Africa, changed Gauteng’s skyline and stimulated the economy.” The project supports the local economic development and stimulated job opportunities. On some days during the development phases up to 14 000 contractors from diverse disciplines were working on site.
After opening of the Mall it is estimated that around 4 500 people will be employed by and in the Mall of Africa. While Mall of Africa comprises some 131 038 m of gross lettable area, James Ehlers, MD of Atterbury Property Developments, notes its construction area covers a massive 550 000 m2 – or 78 rugby fields. A stroll around the building’s perimeter will take you on a walk of 1,75 kilometres. Ehlers also reveals that over 6 kilometres of shop front has been created inside Mall of Africa. Plus, more than 530 kilometres of post tension cable has been used in its construction, as well as 18,500 tons of rebar and 205 000 cubic metres of concrete.
“The super-regional Mall of Africa will also act as a strong catalyst for demand for premises in the surrounding Waterfall City, that is seen as one of the most significant South African commercial developments of the decade and continues to attract local and international attention as the new corporate headquarters destination,” states Wilken. “Waterfall City is rapidly becoming a destination city where residents, business occupants and visitors can enjoy a true work, live and play quality lifestyle. The city with its many corporate headquarters as well as the industrial nodes offer the ideal destination for corporate consolidation and the accompanying cost reduction from having a central location where business teams can be located together in Gauteng’s new corporate business powerhouse,” explains Wilken.
Waterfall City and the mall are ideally located next to the N1 highway on the first free-flow intersection of its size in Africa at the Allandale Road exit. Thus getting to Waterfall City is not only easy, but also convenient from all surrounds. Waterfall City and Mall of Africa are on a convenient Gautrain bus route from the nearby Midrand Gautrain station with ample provision for public taxi access. Dedicated Uber pickup and drop-off points at the Mall of Africa are a first on offer in a South African retail environment.
The new R160-million Bridal Veil Road overpass bridge, developed by Atterbury Property Development, will open at the same time as the mall and create a brand-new east-west transport route. The new bridge crosses the N1 highway south of the Allandale Road interchange and north of the Buccleuch interchange. It creates a direct link between Midrand and Waterfall City with the new R40 million, 1km S-bend dual carriageway extension to Bridal Veil Road, which will take shoppers right to the doors of Mall of Africa. It will carry four lanes of traffic – two in each direction – a pedestrian walkway, a cycle lane and a raised centre median.
“With the opening of the Mall of Africa, Attacq confirms its pursuit of sound capital growth, delivering its strategic business model for long-term returns for all Attacq’s stakeholders. Attacq will continue to develop, invest and grow wisely as a sound listed capital growth fund with a strong investment and development pipeline beyond this major milestone. We will continue to pursue good business opportunities in South Africa, developing markets as well as established markets,” concludes Wilken.
The project implemented multiple green technologies, including a massive photovoltaic installation on the roof of Mall of Africa. The installation will be the largest in South Africa and Africa and will provide 4.8MVA of sustainable power for the centre. The mall will use grey water harvesting in all public toilets and for the irrigation of the entire development. Its design means natural light is maximized in the mall in such a way that shopper comfort is also optimised.