The R1.7-billion Baywest Mall in Port Elizabeth has exceeded job creation targets during its construction phase by more than 40%.
Independent auditors BTKM have confirmed that since construction began in the middle of this year, almost 4300 people have been employed on site.
This represents a 43.3% increase on the 3000 direct jobs developers initially forecast for the project’s construction phase.
“The Baywest development was a massive economic driver for the region”, Baywest managing director Gavin Blows said.
“Not only is the construction phase creating much-needed jobs, but once the mall opens in April, a further 1500 permanent jobs will be created for the mall’s operational phase,” he said. The project’s community liaison officer had been inundated with CVs from Nelson Mandela Bay residents wanting to be considered for employment once the mall opened, he said.
“We are using the CVs to compile a database which we will pass on to our tenants when they look for employees for their stores.”
“Although the decision on who to employ rests with the stores, we are doing what we can to help people find employment,” Blows said.
But employment would not end once the mall opened.
“Because Baywest Mall is kicking off the development of the entire Baywest City precinct, construction will continue once the mall opens as other developments get under way.”
“Baywest City will be to the Eastern Cape what Century City is to the Western Cape,” he said.
Construction would shut down only partially during December.
Construction milestones being wrapped up on site included completing the mall’s 65000m² roof this month, as well as completing a bridge over the N2 freeway, part of the R300-million Baywest roads development project.
Roads developer Basil Read is on course to complete the first phase by March. This includes linking the western suburbs to the N2 by extending Sherwood’s Walker Drive with a multi-lane road that will encircle the mall.
With the fittings of many of the 250-plus Baywest Mall stores already under way, Blows said everything was on track for the handover to the major tenants in January.
This meant the likes of Edgars, Game, Pick n Pay and Woolworths – who will be stationed at the four quadrants of the mall – could begin fitting out their stores, he said.
Keeping it green:
Landscaping – already under way with the planting of coral trees in front of the mall – would continue in earnest from January and be wrapped up by March,” Blows said.
In keeping with the mall’s focus on the environment, indigenous gardens would be created around the mall, he said.
“We have had a good year despite having to deal with strikes which brought the industry to a standstill.”
“We are working hard to create a destination which will become the pulse of Nelson Mandela Bay,” Blows said.
“It is an exciting project which is going to change the face of the city, create jobs and boost tourism.”
“After years of meticulous planning and research, it is an honour to witness this development unfolding.”