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Exemplar reopens the final phase of Edendale Mall for trade

Edendale Mall’s third and final phase has reopened for trade following its severe damage during the riots in July 2021.

Owned by rural and township retail specialists, Exemplar REITail, the mall is located in Plessislaer in Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal, and it was rebuilt in phases, with the first phase having reopened in August 2022.

The company’s asset base was impacted by the events that unfolded with five of its centres across Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal affected. While four of those five were rebuilt and trading by the 2021 festive season, Edendale Mall required a strategic rethink.

An aerial view of the extensive damage to Edendale Mall during July 2021.

The team took the opportunity to recreate the Edendale Mall we had always envisioned,” explains CEO of Exemplar, Jason McCormick. “Inspired by the community that we had grown with from the original opening in 2011, we relooked at our tenant mix, consolidated our GLA and designed a more compact but no less impressive centre of 30 000m2.”

The reopening of Phase 1 focused on food, healthcare, and banking. Phase 2, which opened in November 2022, saw the reopening of an additional grocery anchor and the food court. It was Phase 3, which opened in late March, that saw the real ‘wow’ factor being revealed as the fashion corridor which was created to link Phase 1 and Phase 2 together.

Key tenants include Shoprite, Boxer, Woolworths, Clicks, McDonalds, Absa, Nedbank, Standard Bank Capitec, FNB and OMF. Fashion tenants include Mr Price, Truworths, Markham and Totalsports among others.

The mall has a strong community entertainment element. An all-weather sports field for community soccer and netball lovers; an eventing court for weekly aerobics, local performers, and community markets; as well as the next ‘Kasi CoLAB’ have all been added to the mix to help uplift and empower the community.

First opened at the Mall of Thembisa in Gauteng, the Kasi CoLAB is a township retail incubator that allows local design entrepreneurs the opportunity to get to grips with the retail environment.

A shared space for collaboration, members of the CoLAB have the opportunity to expose their brand to a large customer base while coming to grips with things like shop fitting, window displays, marketing, stock management and customer service – all in a prime location, rent free.

The Edendale Mall Kasi CoLAB will be the third in the portfolio and is planned to start trading in September 2023, with the talent search for local entrepreneurs currently underway.  

Vastly increased natural lighting, expanded walkways, elevated bulkheads, and uniquely laid tiling all contribute to the updated image of the centre.

Now we rise to the challenge of our upcoming pipeline of developments. Our next ten projects span 246 000m2 of retail space, serving 1 705 million people in the most under-serviced regions of the country. With Tshakhuma Mall opening in September, we are also focusing on our Dan City, Capital Mall, Leratong City, Vuwani Mall and Idutywa Mall developments. It is great to focus all of our energy on new builds again,” concludes Jason.