New shops at Melrose Arch brave downturn

Posted On Sunday, 21 June 2009 02:00 Published by
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Retail extensions to Melrose Arch, the Johannesburg mixed use, low-rise development, will open in October.

RETAIL extensions to Melrose Arch, the Johannesburg mixed use, low-rise development, will open in October.

The new retail outlets will include a 6000m² Edgars concept store.

A second Protea Hotel is scheduled to open next year before the kickoff of the 2010 World Cup, signalling the completion of phase two of Melrose Arch.

James Wilson, CEO of Amdec Property Development, which owns half of Melrose Arch, says the offering will always be predominantly up-market but the new phase will include food and convenience outlets such as movie houses and other forms of entertainment aimed at families visiting Melrose Arch.

The latest and biggest retail component of Melrose Arch opened at the end of March, but interest has been slow.

“We’re not overly concerned about the current state of the retail centre. The property industry is a very long-term industry. You have to have some faith in the inevitable upswing in business cycles, and while the national psyche is all doom and gloom at the moment it’s a temporary downturn and consumer demand will pick up,” said Wilson.

The owners plan to start building the third phase of the development later this year. It will include another 75000m² of retail, hotel and leisure space valued at R2.5-billion.

A Taj hotel, covering 15000m² and costing R600-million, is set to become South Africa’s first six-star hotel.

When complete, Melrose Arch will cover about 400000m², making it one of SA’s largest mixed-use precincts — although smaller than Cape Town’s Victoria & Alfred Waterfront.

Phase four, the final phase, will comprise mainly office complexes on about 75000m² and building is due to start in 2011.

“It will be the most densely constructed low-rise precinct of this nature in the country,” said Wilson.

More apartments are scheduled to be built in the next year or two at a cost of R1.5-million to R2-million a unit.

Wilson admitted that opening a shopping centre in a recession is difficult for both landlord and tenants.

“Opening a new retail shop in a new centre, where one needs consumers to change their shopping habits, is difficult. Ideally, one would prefer to open in the middle of a boom period.”

Source: Business Times


Publisher: I-Net Bridge
Source: I-Net Bridge

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