Elaine Jack, City Improvement District Manager for Sandton Central Management District (SCMD).
Sandton Central is a leading hotspot in Africa when it comes to shopping, hospitality and events. That’s the word from Elaine Jack, City Improvement District (CID) Manager of Sandton Central Management District (SCMD) – SA’s cosmopolitan financial and commercial hub.
“There’s no doubt about it, Sandton Central is a vibrant hotspot and more than just SA’s financial hub,” says Jack.
Sandton Central is home to the busiest super-regional shopping centre in the country, Sandton City; and, arguably SA’s busiest conference facility in Sandton Convention Centre. Several of the country’s leading hotels and restaurants are also located in Sandton Central, and more new venues and attractions are opening up.
Jack comments: “When it comes to shopping and hospitality, Sandton Central is world-class with Sandton City, Nelson Mandela Square, Michelangelo Towers Mall, Legacy Corner and several niche retail outlets located in the heart of the SCMD precinct. There is also 24 Central, the buzzing centre next to the JSE. Together, these centres provide a diverse offering, from upmarket international boutiques to popular South African retail stores, restaurants and coffee shops.”
She adds: “There is exciting energy in the Sandton CBD, especially with the huge amount of new development on the go. Not only are several cutting-edge new buildings coming up, but great new attractions, such as Sanlam’s new Art Lounge located at its new Alice Lane offices. The Art Lounge is the first corporate art gallery in Sandton Central’s business district to open its doors to the public.”
Jack says: “Sandton City, which has had a major makeover and expansion in recent years, attracts more than 25 million shoppers a year, making it the busiest shopping centre in the country. With the introduction of several new stores and major international retail brands, as well as the launch of its new uber luxurious Diamond Walk section earlier this year, the centre has entrenched itself and Sandton Central as the top shopping destination in not just SA, but on the African continent.”
“Sandton City has extended its trading hours following the launch of Diamond Walk, which has increased activity in the Sandton Central node with many Sandton workers descending on Sandton City and the neighbouring retail offerings to shop and socialise after work. Meanwhile, the upgrade of Nelson Mandela Square is now complete, so there is a lot of new choices and experiences for shoppers, workers and tourists to look forward to in Sandton Central this festive season.”
On the hospitality front, Jack says: “Sandton Central has one of the highest concentrations of upmarket and internationally branded hotels in the country, including InterContinental, Radisson Blu, Hilton, Sandton Sun, The Michelangelo, The Maslow, Protea Hotel Balalaika, and Holiday Inn, among others. Just a few weeks ago (mid-November), Sandton Sun reopened after a R210 million makeover.”
Sandton Sun was the first five-star hotel in Sandton and built by the legendary hotelier Sol Kerzner. The hotel’s revamp represents a major investment in Sandton Central’s hospitality sector.
Jack comments: “This is a welcome investment. There are other major investments planned for the hospitality sector in Sandton Central by different players in the tourism industry. All this bodes well for the area, especially with Sandton Convention Centre being so busy and hosting major conferences that require delegate accommodation.”
Sandton Convention Centre in the first week of December alone hosted two major international conferences – the seventh Africities Summit with around 5000 delegates; and, the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Heads of State Summit, attended by Chinese President Xi Jinping, President Jacob Zuma and several other African heads of state.
“Sandton hotels were very busy at a time when corporate bookings start to slow as the festive season approaches, head offices close and people go on holiday. In later December hotels in Sandton offer excellent value as this is often their low season. With Sandton Central being home to such great hotels, we think South Africans should look to take advantage of this. It would be great to see more of those people living on the coast coming on holiday to Sandton in December.”
“There is a good opportunity here for hotels and other tourism businesses in Sandton to organise events and attractions, as well as special packages to lure leisure tourists to Sandton during December when corporate and conference related business slows down.”