Bentel Group makes R250 million investment in the Atrium on the Berea

Bentel Group’s R250 million investment gives Durban’s old Overport City shopping centre a bright future as The Atrium Berea

The Gauteng-based Bentel Group’s R250 million investment in the acquisition and redevelopment of The Atrium on the Berea in Durban, previously known as Overport City, has unlocked significant untapped potential for this unique retail asset.

“We acquired the centre in late 2013 from Durban-based Terrafirmanet Investments and continued their redevelopment vision,” says Selwyn Bentel, director of Bentel Group.

He adds: “Built in the early 1970s, it is the centre’s first major refurbishment in 30 years. The Atrium has now been transformed in a bright, airy, secure and contemporary shopping destination that reflects the shopping, business and leisure needs of the upmarket consumers in its surrounding suburbs.”

The Atrium is centrally located in a densely populated upmarket suburb of Essenwood, which is home to the most affluent residents on the Berea. It is also within easy reach of residents across a broad spectrum on the Berea and surrounding areas which include Overport, Morningside, Greyville and Glenwood. ”The area boasts many of the best private schools in KZN and The Atrium is proud testament to this important Durban heritage” adds Bentel.

The 25,000sqm centre comprises 18,000sqm of retail on three easily interlinked shopping levels and also offers around 7,000sqm of triple ‘A’ quality offices in a seven-floor office tower. Each retail level has its own parkade and the overall centre boasts generous covered parking.

A design highlight of The Atrium is the striking 17.8 metre high atrium at the heart of the centre, where natural light streams in, creating a refreshing and pleasant shopping experience. “This key feature inspired the centre’s new name,” explains Bentel.

The mall’s bright court spaces also give it the ability to excite shoppers with different and changing experiences, making it the ideal venue for events, shows and activations, in addition to is compelling retail appeal.

The Atrium boasts a 4,000sqm Checkers, Dis-Chem and Virgin Active. Its fashion mix includes various Pepkor brands, Pick n Pay Clothing and several handpicked local boutiques. Spur, John Dory’s and Maxis round off its restaurant offering, with entertainment offered by Gold Circle Gaming. Strong on everyday services, it boasts seven full banking branches, six cellular shops, a Post Office, medical facilities, travel agent, UK Visa Application Centre and photographic studio.

“Our retail mix incudes the brands which have proved most popular at the centre over the years, plus some exciting new additions that bring it in line with the latest trends,” reports Bentel.

“We have held back a few small spaces and are in the process of selecting the final brands and concepts to complete the optimal retail mix for the centre,” says Bentel.

The Atrium’s prominent high-rise office space provides an excellent business address. Its office tower refurbishment is creating an attractive, modern working environment, supported by the centre’s retail and business services, with ample parking and excellent accessibility, including bus and taxi routes to the city centre.

“The strong take up of offices complements the mixed use vision for The Atrium. The refurbishment of the office tower has helped to secure various large corporate office users,” notes Bentel. Among these is a Virgin Active Health Club that offers members some of the best views in the city while training.

Bentel adds that each floor offers around 1100sqm of office space, and between 2000 and 3000sqm of office space will be available as the office refurbishment rolls out.

This is Bentel Group’s first retail centre investment in KwaZulu-Natal, and with its entry into this market it has been able to bring a fresh perspective to centre.

“The Atrium is a real property gem and the polish it has received with this major refurbishment has allowed it to really shine. It has resulted in an exceptional modern retail and office environment,” says Bentel. “The Atrium is a prime asset that would be incredibly difficult to replicate in the current business context, and we’re excited to be part of the centre’s future success.”

Bentel Group is one of Gauteng’s leading privately-owned property investment and development companies. It is led by the Bentel brothers, Selwyn and Aubrey, who have a number of well-known developments behind their name such as East Rand Retail Park in Boksburg, Retail Crossing on the West Rand, and the Dis-Chem Head Office and Distribution Centre in Midrand.