Socially innovative retail real estate development in South Africa to open soon

Eyethu Orange Farm Mall is set to open on 28 October 2014 and is raising the bar in socially innovative retail real estate development in South Africa – it is 10% owned by its community.

Now it has deepened its commitment to the Orange Farm community even further, and will sponsor space for two key community services: a day care centre for Afrika Tikkun and a home for local radio station Theta FM.

Orange Farm’s very own 27,000sqm regional mall is different from any other shopping centre in South Africa thanks to its unmatched community focus.

Eyethu Orange Farm Mall is owned by the Orange Farm community which holds a 10% stake, facilitated by the National Empowerment Fund’s Rural & Community Development Fund unit. Its co-owners, each with a 30% stake, include the mall’s developers Stretford Land Developments and Flanagan & Gerard Investments, as well as JSE listed property company Dipula Income Fund.

Theta FM is a community radio station that has grown its listenership to over 300,000. Presently located in a school, the station will move to its modern new facility of around 100sqm at the mall. From its new home, it will broadcast live from Eyethu Orange Farm Mall, with a live feed inside the mall too. Theta FM will officially start its live broadcasts from Eyethu Orange Farm Mall a week before opening day, ensuring the community is first to know the latest from the mall.

Charles Motaung, Program Manager at Theta FM hailed the decision by the owners of Eyethu Orange Farm Mall to give the station a home at the new mall.

“As a community broadcaster, we kept on with the vision and the dream of making a difference in our community. We saw radio as a tool to educate those around us, motivate people to change their situation and stimulate economic growth and community development. To broadcast from the Eyethu Orange Farm Mall gives us a great opportunity to grow Theta FM and continue to contribute in the development of our listeners.”

Motaung adds: “After nine years of broadcasting from a class room at Isikhumbuzo Secondary School this is a great infrastructural relief. We are very excited and grateful to the owners of the Eyethu Orange Farm Mall for housing us in such a modern facility. This is the best birthday present we’ve received for our ninth year being on air”.

At Eyethu Orange Farm Mall, Afrika Tikkun will operate as a day care centre for children from three to six years. Afrika Tikkun is a well-established NGO that deals with early child development in impoverished and township communities. It is a programme already familiar to the residents of Orange Farm. The centre will be set in 200sqm of quality space.

Afrika Tikkun CEO, Marc Lubner says: “Access to effective Early Childhood Development programmes undoubtedly gives children a significant head start when it comes to schooling. As Afrika Tikkun, we are delighted to be able to partner with the Eyethu Orange Farm Mall in providing first class education opportunities for the children of mall employees as well as the broader community.”

Both Theta FM and the Afrika Tikkun day care centre will be on a mezzanine level, next to the centre’s management offices.

And these aren’t the only ways Eyethu Orange Farm Mall connects with its community.

The mall quite literally connects its community by being at the heart of the area’s vibrant new central business district and its main transport hub. The Orange Farm Taxi Association will return to its original premises, at the centre, a week before the mall opens. It temporarily relocated so the mall could be built. The mall also links to the rail transport at Stretford Station, making it easy for shoppers — whether they come by taxi, train, car, bicycle, or on foot — to meet their everyday retail needs.

Putting its community involvement into action on many far-reaching levels that boost its people and economy, 1 248 Orange Farm locals have been employed in the construction of the mall so far.

Paul Gerard, of Flanagan & Gerard Investments, comments: “Eyethu Orange Farm Mall is designed to make it easy for local shoppers to get the things they need from the shops they love, in a vibrant, quality shopping mall. It has also created a great place for people to meet and come together, at the heart of the community.”

Izak Petersen, CEO of Dipula Income Fund points out that Eyethu Orange Farm Mall is designed to be an asset to its community in every way. “We are extremely pleased to be invested in this extraordinary asset, of which its community can be incredibly proud.”

David Lieberman of Stretford Land Developments, says: “We’re excited for the eagerly-awaited opening of Eyethu Orange Farm Mall on 28 October. For many people who have walked this journey with us, it is a dream come true.”