Mall to bear fruit in Orange Farm

By Roy Cokayne Time of article published Jun 20, 2013

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Roy Cokayne

The development of retail facilities in former townships has been given increased impetus with the start of construction of a R400 million shopping mall in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.

The Eyethu Orange Farm Mall, which has been labelled the “Jabulani of the south” in a reference to the iconic mall in Soweto, will form the core of a new town centre.

It is being developed by Flanagan & Gerard and Stretford Land Developments.

The mall is poised to act as a major catalyst for economic activity not only in the Orange Farm and Evaton areas but the greater Sebokeng region.

Earthworks have begun for the 27 000m2 Eyethu Orange Farm Mall, which is scheduled to open for trade in September next year.

Major retailers have already been secured, expansion rights of up to 35 000m2 in gross lettable area are in place and upgrades to transport infrastructure are under way.

Peter Gerard of Flanagan & Gerard said the developers were proud of the fact that their development had been designated as a “presidential project”. It was receiving national, provincial and local government support because it was a community upliftment initiative.

Road improvements and taxi rank upgrades have begun, and links to the adjacent Stretford Station are a key element of the mall’s design.

Investors in the project include the two developers, listed property company Dipula Income Fund and the Orange Farm Community Trust.

A key attribute of the mall’s location on Orange Farm Link Road is that it will serve local shoppers from Orange Farm and Evaton as well as commuters and shoppers from the greater Sebokeng area.

A large part of the mall’s trade is expected to be garnered from walk-in shoppers, augmented by commuters.

About 7 million passengers a year pass through Stretford Station from as far afield as Lenz, Lawley, Kwaggastroom, Houtheuwel and Grasmere.

The two-level mall will offer free open-air parking to shoppers in private vehicles and an array of national and local retail tenants, with an emphasis on food, household goods, fashion and services.

McDonald’s, Shoprite, Pick n Pay, Clicks, Truworths, Foschini, Mr Price and Edgars have been signed up as tenants.

David Lieberman of Stretford Land Developments said the current critical mass of retail was 32 700m2, with growth potential to about 61 000m2 of gross lettable area on both sides of Stretford Station.

With a population of 400 000 people in about 110 000 households, the residential areas of Orange Farm and Evaton have experienced fast growth in the past eight years.

Most of the population are in the lower-income and middle-income brackets.

Izak Petersen, the chief executive of Dipula Income Fund, said about 50 000 households were located within a 10km radius of the mall.

New growth of about 20 000 households was forecast to take place close to the site over the next decade.

Petersen said Dipula had already acquired the first phase of the development of about 5 700m2, with anchor tenants Boxer Supercity and Cashbuild.

He added: “We will build a KFC drive-through on the same site in a few months.”

Dipula was delighted to be part of this project and, together with its partners, had provided funding for the community’s equity in the development, Petersen said.

“This investment is in line with our strategy to invest in previously disadvantaged communities and to make a meaningful contribution towards their upliftment.”

Vusi Tshabalala of Stretford Land Developments stressed that when a community had no mineral wealth, its only wealth was its buying power.

“Eyethu Orange Farm Mall has created an avenue for the Orange Farm community to participate in its own wealth creation through ownership in the mall,” he said.

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