01 Dec 2011
The new look Liberty Promenade Shopping Centre in the Western Cape was relaunched last week by Premier Helen Zille, following its R500m expansion.
This follows the R500 million expansion project that has taken the centre to 86 000 square metres making Mitchells Plain complex the second largest shopping centre in the province.
Liberty Properties bought the centre in 2004 with a retail space of 42 000 square metres, but the centre’s instant success called for rapid expansion.
By September the following year a second phase of development had been completed, adding a further 11 000 square metres.
Liberty Promenade is one of the largest shopping centres in Liberty Properties’ R24 billion (1.5 million square metre) property portfolio, and one of the largest investments in the Western Cape to date.
Liberty Promenade Shopping Centre forms part of the Liberty Balanced Property Portfolio (LBPP), which has delivered double digit returns for investors for the past 27 years, outperforming bonds and cash by 6 percent per annum over the last five years.
Over a 10 year period, LBPP has produced an average return of 15 percent on a straight line basis and continues to exceed its performance target of CPI plus 5 percent per annum over any rolling five-year period.
Liberty Properties own shopping centres including Sandton City, Nelson Mandela Square and Eastgate Shopping Centre in Gauteng, Liberty Midlands Mall in Pietermaritzburg and Greenacres in Port Elizabeth.
In the past eight years Liberty Promenade has established itself as the centre of a vibrant, diverse and fast-growing community in Mitchell’s Plain. It currently attracts a million visitors a month.
Zille says if investments like Liberty Promenade flourish, it creates a virtuous cycle that could push back negative developments in South Africa.
“We are encouraged by Liberty Properties’ assessment that Cape Town, and Mitchells Plain, is a great place to invest,” she says.
Investors are attracted to places where the government is seen as more or less corruption free, where things work and there is economic growth, she says.
Samuel Ogbu, chief executive officer of Liberty Properties, says Liberty Promenade is not just a shopping destination.
“Our investment brings with it entertainment for the local community, a destination that the area can be proud of, and a gathering place for the community.”
The development has created more jobs at the new stores.
Throughout t the construction phase, employment opportunities were created with approximately 67 percent of the construction project’s general workforce being from the broader Mitchell’s Plain and Khayelitsha areas.
Ogbu says investment in infrastructure, facilities and services is key to improving the quality of life and an essential part of uplifting areas such as Mitchell's Plain that previously did not attract their fair share of investment capital.
Mitchells Plain is one of the fastest growing and developing areas in the Western Cape.
The community has proven that they are discerning shoppers who seek quality shopping and entertainment destinations in the community in which they live, he says.
“The extension and refurbishment has entrenched the centre’s status as the preferred shopping destination of the Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha communities.”
Thea Marx, general manager of Coastal Regions at Liberty Properties says the centre has 185 tenants and has created 1 200 permanent jobs in two years.
The main shopping centre is also creating room for selected local entrepreneurs who previously traded informally in the Mini Mall and earned a place in the main building.
Commuters also benefit from a refurbished and covered taxi rank, while shoppers with cars can enjoy increased security with the addition of CCTV in the parking area and the appointment of additional security personnel outside, explains Marx. – Denise Mhlanga
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Denise MhlangaProperty journalist at property24.com
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