Casting the retail small-town catchment net

Posted On Wednesday, 14 September 2011 02:00 Published by
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Almost 80% of people who live in Elim, Limpopo, shop in other cities. Now this is set to change with Twin City Development’s retail strategy for the new Elim Mall

Anchored by Shoprite in a 3,500sqm store, the R220 million Elim Mall will, for the first time, bring comprehensive, targeted convenience and fashion shopping to the doorstep of Elim residents in a first phase 17,500sqm single-level shopping centre, featuring 50 stores.

Developed in joint venture by skilled property developer Twin City Development and designed by Leon Jacobs Architects, Elim Mall is bringing market-matched retailers to local shoppers to create a relevant and appealing retail attraction to Elim residents. Twin City Development are owners of retail developments such as Blue Haze Mall in Hazyview, Twin City Mall in Burgersfort and Twin City Mall Bushbuckridge. Ribola Property Development is a local partner and former land owner.

Set to open in September 2012, the mall will also include a superbly-positioned service station and will incorporate a brand new taxi and bus rank-making shopping easy and accessible for local commuters. The mall is also served by 884 parking bays.

“We have chosen a uniquely suitable location at a bustling intersection, with high traffic volumes and excellent exposure, at the cross roads to Louis Trichardt, Giyani and Levubu, contributing to considerable flow past the site,” says Johan Visagie of Twin City.

And this is where Retail Network Services’ expertise comes in to play.
Extensive research undertaken prior to the development of Elim Mall reveals a marked service gap in specific retail facilities for local residents.

“There are some complementary retail facilities nearby and the new Elim Mall will be an extension to the current limited retail offering in Elim. It provides the opportunity to introduce tenants not currently available in the area,” explains Gavin Tagg of Retail Network Services. “The addition of Elim Mall will provide critical mass to the node and promote its enhanced attraction and popularity.”

Retail Network Services is a full-service specialist retail leasing company which ensures that the intricate, and often puzzling, tenant mix is crafted to suit each centre's unique footprint, with successes the likes of Pan Africa Shopping Centre in Alexandra and Edendale Mall in Pietermaritzburg, Mdantsane City in East London, Tsakane Mall in Springs and Jabulani Mall in Soweto to its name.
Twin City Development acknowledges the importance of commuter transport systems and has incorporated within the centre a popular taxi rank with 72 bays, serving over 110 taxis, as well as a bus drop off and collection area.  Part of the development will also be the construction of a new Engen Filling Station.

“Research has confirmed that the area has a considerable amount of customers and this is expected to grow at 4% a year,” says National leasing manager for Retail Network Services, Jonathan Tagg. Elim Mall is also situated across the road from Elim Hospital, with its 400 bed capacity which generates substantial inflow with patients and visiting families. “This is an extremely busy intersection and is where all the commercial activity of Elim and surrounds is present.” However, many of these people currently leave Elim to shop in Louis Trichard because their retail needs are not being met locally.

The size and retailer mix at Elim Mall will assist in limiting the current outflow of shoppers to areas like Louis Trichard and Giyani, which is currently calculated to be 78%.

“It is essential to select retailers for the tenant mix which appeal to the Elim market and meet their specific everyday needs,” explains Jonathan. “This is the essence of a successful retail centre – for the shopper, the retailer and the owners – and this is what Elim Mall will provide”.

The first phase has almost a 80% national tenant mix, with Shoprite as main food anchor. RNS is in advanced tenancy discussions with numerous other national retailers. Twin City has also acquired adjacent land as part of the joint venture, which land will enable them to satisfy retail demand going forward, being able to extend the centre up to 45 000 squares GLA.

In addition to keeping retail spend within Elim, the development of Elim Mall will also contribute to job creation and economic empowerment within the community, on an ongoing basis. More than the numerous jobs created for the ongoing operation of the mall, a centre of this size usually generates hundreds of retail job opportunities, depending on tenant needs. The developers encourage retailers to hire from the local community.

During construction, some 140 workers will be employed on site at peak production and, wherever feasible, these will be local sub-contractors.

Twin City Development pioneered retail in previously disadvantaged townships where they have achieved unrivalled success – and Retail Network Services are one of the only companies to get the tenant mix right in this new and largely unchartered area of growth within the retail sector and can also engineer retail in small suburban convenience centres as well as the mammoth super regional shopping malls.

Earthworks for Elim Mall are under way and the centre is scheduled to open in September 2012.


Publisher: eProp
Source: TCD

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