R90 million rand makeover scheduled for Bentel Group's Northmead Square

Artist’s impressions of what Benoni’s popular Northmead Square shopping centre will look like after it gets a R90 million upgrade. The upgrade, announced by the centre’s new owners Bentel Group, will see the introduction of a new generation Woolworths Food store and also update the centre with a fresh, modern makeover.

Benoni’s popular Northmead Square shopping centre has embarked on a R90 million upgrade that will introduce a new generation Woolworths Food store of around 1,800sqm in size to the centre, while the upgrade will also update the centre with a fresh, modern makeover.

The expansion and refurbishment of Northmead Square will also provide the convenience of added parking, improved traffic flows and better access to the square. It will increase the size of the well-supported community centre from around 14,200sqm to 16,400sqm and create a striking new glazed atrium. The atrium weatherproofs key parts of the centre, encompassing the Ster Kinekor cinema complex, restaurants and shops.

The expansion and refurbishment project was announced by Bentel Group, which recently acquired the Northmead Square and took ownership of it in March 2015.

East Rand based 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, whose portfolio is nationally based and includes East Rand Retail Park in Boksburg, Retail Crossing on the West Rand, and the Dis-Chem Head Office and Distribution Centre in Midrand.

Selwyn Bentel, director of Bentel Group, comments: “Our investment in redeveloping Northmead Square responds to the needs of its loyal shoppers and dedicated tenants. This unique shopping centre has become part of the fabric of Benoni and is at the heart of its community. The moment we saw it, we knew it was an exceptional centre with huge potential.”

He adds: “It is a privilege to take over a centre like Northmead Square, especially because of the care and dedication of the previous owner Fivo Coutsides, as well as the centre’s many long-standing tenants who together have worked to make the centre the prime shopping destination in Benoni. Our experience has shown us that centres should be upgraded roughly every 10 years to keep them relevant and exciting. By upgrading and updating Northmead Square, we intend to continue its legacy of exceptional care and ensure Northmead Square remains an asset Benonians can be proud of and enjoy for many years to come. Northmead Square’s next chapter will reward the dedication and commitment of everyone who has been part of the centre’s community over the years.”

At the new Woolworths Food store, Northmead Square shoppers can look forward to enjoying the very latest layouts and specifications, including a Woolworths Café coffee shop, bakery, fishmonger, butchery and deli.

Great new shopping variety isn’t the only wow-factor the redevelopment will introduce. It will also create a fresh, airy new double-volume atrium feature that will extend the centre’s main frontage outwards on both levels with a new contemporary glazed façade. With bright-coloured glass panels, the atrium will allow natural light to stream into the new atrium to create an internal enclosed, weatherproof mall that protects shoppers from the elements, for an enjoyable experience come rain or shine.

The redevelopment will also create space for a few new tenants in addition to Woolworths, while a few stores will move to more suitable positions in the centre as part of the project. Plus, the entire centre will be dressed in a refreshed modern look, including new tiling and balustrades.

“We have found that tenants are excited to upgrade their stores introducing the latest retail designs and ideas that complement the look and feel that we have created” says Bentel.

Bentel explains that adequate parking was a major requirement of the centre’s redesign, and this will be achieved by adding a new parking deck in the least obtrusive position on the centre’s site. Introducing over 125 new parking bays, serviced by a new escalator and lift, the new parking deck will be built along the O’Reilly Merry Street edge of the property and carefully designed to not obscure the visibility of the centre.

Designed to be sensitive to its surrounds, even the centre’s new signage has been carefully considered, to ensure no signage pollution.

Upgrades to surrounding roads form part of the project to improve access to the centre and provide better ease of traffic flow for road users. A traffic circle will be constructed at the entrance to Northmead Square where 4th Street meets 14th Avenue. In addition, the redevelopment will introduce another convenient entrance and exit on O’Reilly Merry Street, next to the Ekurhuleni East TVET College, providing direct access to the ground level parking, beneath the new parking deck.

Bentel confirms he has enjoyed meeting with the centre’s traders about the plans for the 13-month project. The project commenced on 8 October 2015 and is scheduled for completion in November.

“Meeting with the tenants of Northmead Square has been great. The warmth and care the retailers have for the centre is exceptional. They are extremely invested in its success and proud to be part of the Northmead Square family. As the new owners, this makes us more motivated to lift the centre to the next level,” says Bentel.

He adds: “We are mindful that projects of this kind come with a level of disruption, and we’ve taken steps to make it as pain-free as possible for everyone. The on-site project team has been briefed to keep in close communication with tenants and the programme has been divided into three phases, to help minimise disruption from the construction. Ultimately the results benefit everyone.”