04 Nov 2010
A new R80-million shopping centre, known as the eSikhaleni Plaza, has opened in the uMhlathuze municipal area near Richards Bay in northern KwaZulu-Natal. The development is aimed at the rural people of the region and is expected to create at least 500 jobs.
The site was bought from the uMhlatuze council in 2006 but a lengthy environmental approval process delayed construction, which only started in January this year. The first phase of the project created a regional shopping centre that is almost 12 000 sqm in extent.
The second phase will add a further 3 000 sqm and is due for completion in June next year. As part of the environmental approval, the stream on land adjacent to the mall had to be rehabilitated and this site will become part of a greenbelt within the shopping centre.
Mike Graham, one of the shareholders in the project, says Nedbank provided an 85% bond for the eSikhaleni Plaza while the shop owners, architects, engineers and even the letting agents invested their own money or their fees in this project to make it work.
Apparently national franchises make up about 70% of the tenants at the Plaze and include Shoprite, OK Furniture and Hungry Lion. Other stores comprise clothing and shoe shops, an optician and branches of five South African banks.
There are 400 parking bays and a play area for children.
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