A regional shopping mall and mixed-use development is to be built on a site spanning 1km along the N14 highway and 300 metres along the R55 in Monavoni in Centurion, southwest of Pretoria.

To be called Forest Hill City, the R1.6 billion project is to be developed by Billion Group, a leading property development company.

It will be anchored by Forest Hill Mall with a gross lettable area of 72 000m², making it the largest mall in the area but ultimately also combined with office and residential space.

Sisa Ngebulana, the executive chairman and founder of the Billion Group, said at a launch function that Forest Hill epitomised urban living – where people ate, lived and played in a safe and convenient environment.

“The mall has excellent access and egress and is located on an off-ramp in South Africa’s fastest-growing residential node,” he said.

The development is on a major interchange connecting Midrand, Centurion, Sandton, Johannesburg, Krugersdorp and Pretoria.

Ngebulana said the development’s exceptional location meant it would service the 112 500 households in the primary catchment area, which was set to grow to almost 160 000 households by next year.

He said the undersupply of retail facilities in the area was currently 250 000m².

The mall was scheduled to open in April next year.

The mall was the first phase of a larger retail development, which would expand to a planned 110 000m² of retail.

“We have received over 80 percent commitments from leading international and South African brands, including Checkers Hyper, House and Home, Woolworths, Truworths, Edgars, Ster Kinekor, Foschini Group, Pick n Pay, Pepkor and Mr Price Group.

“Banks, food and entertainment franchises are also well represented,” he said.

Ngebulana said Forest Hill Mall’s architectural design matched his group’s development philosophy of enhancing the overall lifestyle experience of the prospective end user.

The Billion Group was also cognisant of its responsibility to the community and environment within which the mall was located.

He said Forest Hill Mall introduced the latest in international trends to optimise shopper convenience and the time spent in the mall.

The parking configuration was novel because the four levels of parking were located at the centre of the mall, which would provide covered, quick and easy access from any point.

There were 2 400 bays, with 600 bays in each level.

External parking would provide access to Woolworths, Clicks and the food and entertainment node, increasing the total number of bays to 4 320.

Ngebulana said the group’s current development pipeline was robust at a total value of R7.16bn and a total gross lettable area of 370 000m².

The Billion Group specialises in retail developments, such as Hemingways Mall and Mdantsane City in the Eastern Cape, commercial properties, residential developments and mixed-use developments.