R1.3 billion investment proposal for Boardwalk's Emfuleni's resorts

A artist’s impression of The Boardwalk in an evening setting.

Emfuleni Resorts today outlined its proposal to develop a R1.3-billion mixed use development on currently under-utilized land in the Boardwalk Precinct in Port Elizabeth. The Boardwalk Mall would include a retail mall, a multi-purpose events venue, entertainment offerings and corporate offices. Emfuleni, together with partners Parktown Capital, believe that the current site offers exceptional opportunities for all.

Emfuleni will contribute its land in return for an equity stake. Parktown Capital are leading the development and tenanting, with Sun International ensuring that the mix and design are complementary to its existing business, which should drive footfall and business to the entire precinct. Set on a 13.3 hectare site within The Boardwalk precinct – envisioned in its final form to be a mixed-use lifestyle node situated together with the natural landmark of Hobie Beach – The Boardwalk Mall’s components have been designed to meet the needs of PE’s residents and visitors.

Emfuleni is making application to the Eastern Cape Gambling and Betting Board to amend its casino licence for an additional 20 years beyond its current expiry date of October 2025 in return for this investment. In 2000, Sun International and Emfuleni originally invested over R500-million to build the Boardwalk and a further R1-billion to extend its licence thereafter.

Designed to complement The Boardwalk’s other leisure offerings and serve the needs of surrounding communities, the project will provide local residents and visitors with a range of retail offerings, activities and attractions. This will be an essential new component of the broader Boardwalk precinct, identified and earmarked by the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro as an important growth node that will accelerate the Metro’s economic growth, job creation and increased returns to the Province.

The project is designed to deliver on the Eastern Cape Provincial Government’s objectives in terms of job creation and black economic empowerment. As many as 8 500 new jobs are envisaged to be created during a two year construction period and 1 500 jobs during operations.

The new development is planned to include:
– A 35 000m² Mall, offering restaurants, high-end convenience, and niche retail with eateries and entertainment. It will be arranged around a revised water feature and the new Sun Park that will be used to support and host special events and entertainment
– A 2 570m² multi-purpose events venue
– A 2 000m² Magic Company including a Laser Tag facility and bowling alley
– 1 832m² of movie theatres
– 4 000m² of corporate offices
– 3 000 Parking Bays

The Boardwalk Mall will be appropriately and sensitively themed to fit within the urban fabric of The Boardwalk as a whole in terms of both its visual impact as well as the anticipated impact from the expected influx of visitors.

The Boardwalk Consortium also proposes to provide a more effective and relevant entertainment icon for the City: the vibrant new Sun Park. The Sun Park will occupy an area of about half a rugby field, around and incorporating the revised fountain water feature. It is designed to be a community-centred entertainment zone to stage and host a wide range of activities from sports events to staged concerts, open-air cinema, wine-tastings and corporate launches/tourism exhibitions. The venue will also form part of Sun International’s national concert/show circuit.

The range of restaurants and bars at The Boardwalk Mall will represent a vibrant mix to suit all tastes and all ages, and are spread around the perimeter of the shopping centre. Both fine dining and popular local brands will be offered.

Retail planned for the Boardwalk Mall will showcase both local and imported goods. Shops will be positioned close to all major public entrances and will appeal to a broad cross-section of residents. Quick service food and beverage offerings will be located close to the proposed Sun Park with easy access to the dedicated children’s play area, the crèche, and the Magic Company.

Said Bongi Siwisa, Chairman of Emfuleni Resorts, “The Boardwalk Consortium believes this development fulfills all the requirements for a considered, well-planned addition to this critical node, and that from the day it opens it will become a popular regional destination attraction for Nelson Mandela Bay. An investment of this size – the largest ever in tourism and hospitality in Port Elizabeth, amply demonstrates our belief and confidence in the long-term potential of the Metro and the Province.”