Growthpoint’s Lakeside Mall in Benoni has introduced two new anchor tenants to its 130-strong retailer mix, concluding the final phase of a three-year, R135 million upgrade program.
Pick n Pay’s opening occupies a 2 500 square meter store and Dis-Chem claimed a 1 400 square meter store at the end of July 2020, amid the Covid-19 national lockdown. Pick n Pay Liquor will open in a 130 square meter premises once it is permitted to do so.
The reconfigured space represents 4 900 square meters of gross lettable retail area with only one 790 square meter high-profile position remaining in the new configuration featuring a brand new external-facing shopfront on the mall’s prominent west façade and overlooking Bunyan Street.
The upgrade of the mall’s interior began in 2018 to achieve a beautiful modernised aesthetic and the refurbishment has created a clean, contemporary look with new entrances, ceilings, tiles, columns, handrails, upgraded ablution facilities and energy-efficient lighting.
“Our experienced in-house development team and specialised retail property team worked hand-in-hand to find the best ways to optimise the value and appeal of Lakeside Mall. We are genuinely thrilled at the result of its refurbishment, reconfiguration and re-tenanting, and the phenomenally positive impact that this project is already having for the mall overall” comments Rudolf Pienaar, Chief Development and Investment Officer at Growthpoint.
In addition, the recent upgrades, alternations and additions have refreshed and enhanced the unique features of Lakeside Mall including its 150-metre long steamboat which appears to be floating on Benoni’s Civic Lake and its town square surrounded by the facades of buildings within the mall’s building.
Mark Langley, Retail: Head of Development at Growthpoint Properties, reveals, “The reconfiguration and introduction of Pick n Pay and Dis-Chem to Lakeside Mall was made possible by Shoprite waiving the exclusivity clause in its lease for the benefit of the shopping centre and its customers, which is commendable indeed. We are incredibly proud of this redevelopment, which fundamentally improves Lakeside Mall as a whole.”
Growthpoint invested R75 million in its redevelopment to restructure the former cinema space for retail purposes. The major project proved to be a challenge with demolition and construction work taking place within a busy, trading mall. The original area was initially built for specialises cinemas and removing the internal structural pillars was a challenging element of the project.
Planning the delivery yard for Pick n Pay also presented a challenge for the development team. The new shops and the entire surrounding mall are raised one storey high on stilt pillars. This area extends to form a bridge that reaches across five lanes of Benoni’s busy Tom Jones Street, and links to the upper level of the larger part of the mall.
A collaborative effort revealed that the best solution to achieve efficient deliveries for Pick n Pay would be via a truck entrance beneath the building. Elevators were installed especially for this task, and a dedicated delivery vehicle entrance was constructed from Mowbray Avenue at the north of the mall’s site, alongside an existing entrance to Casseys Auto Benoni Ford. The new delivery entrance features separate lanes for car deliveries to Casseys and truck deliveries to Pick n Pay, with the delivery area being designed with logistics-grade turning circles for Pick n Pay’s trucks in mind.
As part of the project, the mall’s parking area nearest the new Pick n Pay and Dis-Chem was also upgraded and reconfigured, to make it quick and easy to access the exciting new shopping in this area.
“This upgrade is for Lakeside Mall’s customers. We listened to them and have worked tirelessly and invested significantly to give them what they want the most. We think they are going to be delighted at the new level of community convenience at Lakeside Mall. We are pleased to offer shoppers more product variety and great value, with something for everyone, in their own neighbourhood” remarks Chantell Roemer, Portfolio Manager at Growthpoint.
The mall and its owners also hope to invest even more in improvements soon by adding a slip road into the mall directly from Bunyan Street. Besides making it even more effortless for shoppers to meet their daily needs, this would also be a valuable source of investment capital and employment in Benoni at a time when both are needed more than ever before.
“Lakeside Mall first opened in 1999 and this vibrant 21-year-old asset has matured and come into its own with this revamp, which has given it an exciting new dimension that is genuinely relevant for its community. The debut of Pick n Pay and Dis-Chem at Lakeside mall increases the appeal of their surrounding shops for both shoppers and our retailers, and supports the centre’s overall shopper pull and trading performance,” concludes Neil Schloss, Growthpoint’s Head of Asset Management: Retail.