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Gugulethu gets large shopping mall

15 Jan 2010
A R350m shopping centre has opened for business in Cape Town's Gugulethu.

The 30,000sqm Gugulethu Square is the biggest single investment in Gugulethu and the largest shopping centre in Cape Town's townships.

The development has been funded by a consortium comprising the IDEAS Fund, a partnership product between Old Mutual and Unity (a consortium of trade unions), Group Five, Khula Finance and Mzoli Properties.

Mzoli Ngcawuzele, of Mzoli Properties, says Gugulethu Square will provide a broad-based retail, restaurant and entertainment offering, ensuring that valuable consumer spend is retained in the township.

"In addition to providing job and ownership opportunities, Gugulethu Square offers local residents one-stop shopping facilities on their doorstep, thus curbing the need for long distance travelling," he says.

"They now have access to exciting national chains as well as unique, local businesses. The tenant mix includes doctors and businesses which previously traded on the development site."

Ngcawuzele says that apart from smaller traders, there are two full service anchor tenants – Shoprite and Spar. Other tenants include Cashbuild, The Post Office, Jet Mart, Ackermans, Pep, Identity, Truworths, Exact, Fashion Express, Legit, Mr Price, Foschini, Markhams, Total Sport, Clicks, Capitec Bank, ABSA, Nedbank, Standard Bank, Old Mutual, KFC, Steers, Debonairs, Morkels and Ellerines.

Sake24 recently reported that Gugulethu's first Spur restaurant is now located in the centre.

Nhlanhla Mdluli, franchisee of the Amitola Spur, says the feedback from clients has been very positive after the restaurant opened its doors in December. "It is the first Spur in a Cape township and the people really appreciate the fact that the restaurant was brought to their community."

The 400sqm Spur has seating for 200 people.

Ngcawuzele says there has been an excellent take-up of space in the centre, with 95% leased, and the remaining area under negotiation.

"As with many shopping centres, Gugulethu Square will act as a central location for socialising and community events. The rooftop parking area, which has more than 600 bays, is an additional venue for outdoor events."

He says retailers have responded most effectively to initiatives by the developers to draw their work force from Gugulethu residents.

"During construction, we achieved a ratio of 37% of the workforce from the Gugulethu community, well ahead of a commitment for 25%."

Ngcawuzele says retail centres are often a catalyst for further development.

"The intention is to use the centre as the first step toward the establishment of a Gugulethu central business district (CBD). Discussions have been held around further retail development, hotels and additional community facilities. If these initiatives are successful, the development of offices would be the next step, further accelerating the township's integration into the formal economy."

Ngcawuzele says energy-saving alternatives have been applied to Gugulethu Square with an eye on a rating by the Green Building Council of South Africa.

These include an energy efficient water-cooled air conditioning system, a rainwater system, intelligent lighting and tilt-up concrete façade construction requiring no external painting and less transport.

Other measures were the use of on-site material for backfilling, re-use of 4,000sqm brick paving from the site on which the centre has been developed, salvaging of demolished material for community use, and the introduction of operational waste management systems. – Eugene Brink

For more information contact Mzoli Ngcawuzele on 082 953 0130.

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