Dipula’s +R200m retail portfolio upgrade takes shape

Exterior of Dipula Income Fund’s Gillwell Mall in East London.

Dipula Income Fund’s upgrades of its retail assets into modern, accessible shopping experiences is taking shape. The company has earmarked more than R200 million for upgrades and capital expenditure to its retail portfolio including projects underway at Umzimkulu and Harding Corner in KwaZulu-Natal, Gezina Galleries in Pretoria, and Chilli Lane in Johannesburg – to name a few.

The REIT invests in urban convenience centres and lower LSM retail in townships, rural areas, and towns through South Africa and its retail property portfolio represents more than 60% of its gross rental income.

We are optimistic about the defensive performance of retail property and believe in optimising this by keeping our shopping centres fresh, relevant, and appealing to both retailers and customers. Enhancing the aesthetics, tenant mix and offering ensures that our centres continue to offer a pleasant and convenient shopping alternative in every area where we are invested,” says Dipula’s CEO, Izak Petersen.

At Gezina Galleries, the 17 000m2 community centre located to the north of Pretoria’s CBD, Dipula is busy with a project that will update its aesthetic appeal and enhance its tenant mix. A highlight of the project is the upgrade of the Gezina Galleries Checkers to the retailer’s very latest spec. Dipula is investing R40 million in the upgrade, scheduled for completion by March 2024.

Chilli Lane, the 13 000m2 community centre in Sunninghill, is undergoing a makeover and receiving a tenant mix enhancement including a new restaurant area with an improved offering. The R15 million project will be completed before 2023’s festive season.

Gillwell Mall, now the biggest one-stop shopping destination in downtown East London with just over 22 000m2 of gross lettable area (GLA), has also undergone a recent upgrade, playing an important role as a mainstay for retail for the lower LSM market in East London. The upgrade was completed at a cost of approximately R20 million.

The project involved a façade upgrade, the creation of an additional entrance which provides direct access to the lower ground level enabling better customer flows through the centre, the addition of a new anchor and an updated tenant mix. Boxer is the new anchor on the lower ground level that will complement Shoprite as the ground-level anchor tenant.