The damaged portion of the Springfield Retail Centre is expected to re-open for trade by Easter weekend 2022. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo African News Agency (ANA)
The damaged portion of the Springfield Retail Centre is expected to re-open for trade by Easter weekend 2022. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo African News Agency (ANA)

Springfield shopping centres focus on rebuilding

By Karen Singh Time of article published Sep 25, 2021

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DURBAN - SPRINGFIELD Value Centre and Springfield Retail Centre are set to be rebuilt after parts of both shopping centres were damaged during the riots and looting in July.

SA Corporate Real Estate Limited, which owns the Springfield Value Centre, confirmed that the company will rebuild and repair the damage to the shopping centre.

The Value Centre mainly suffered fire damage which resulted in electrical, mechanical and structural damage to the building, said SA Corporate chief executive Rory Mackey.

Mackey said the cost to rebuild and repair the Value Centre was estimated at hundreds of millions of rand.

“It’s anticipated that the rebuilding and repairs will take between seven and 11 months,” he said.

According to Mackey, certain tenants have reached out to the company and requested temporary accommodation at other properties.

“Some tenants will negotiate with us to begin new leases for when the centre is fully operational. Tenants who have lease agreements with SA Corporate will be credited for the time they cannot enjoy beneficial occupation,” he said, adding that a small number of tenants have elected to end their tenure in the centre.

Emira Property Fund, which owns the Springfield Retail Centre, said about 30% of the Retail Centre, which is near the Value Centre, was affected by fire.

Geoff Jennet, chief executive of Emira Property Fund, said the damaged portion of the Retail Centre, which affects 10 out of 40 tenants, is expected to re-open for trade by Easter weekend 2022.

“Our estimated costings are in the region of approximately R50 million. Currently 50% of the tenants are already trading again. Our anchor Food Lover’s opened with a new refurbished store only seven days after looting impacted their store.

“Feedback from them is that trading is back to normal,” he said.

Jennet said Emira Property Fund anticipates that 70% of the centre’s tenants will trade by December this year.

“Tenants who cannot trade due to the destruction have been advised that we are rebuilding and most indicated that they will reopen after the rebuild. We are fully covered by Sasria and the necessary claims have been submitted,” he said.

Other stores in Springfield are also getting back to business. Appliance store Hirsch’s in Springfield Park, which was looted and burnt, has already reopened.

Margaret Hirsch, executive director of the Hirsch’s Homestore Group, said they were able to effect the repairs quickly through the efforts of the local community and staff.

“The local community were incredible. We had people coming from around the greater Durban area armed with buckets, brooms, mops and spades. They helped get all the refuse out so we could get the place cleaned out and ready for painting.”

With no technicians or tradesmen available at the time, Hirsch said, “our trainee manager became the tiler, the cashiers did the painting”.

She added that eThekwini Municipality assisted by providing 10 trucks to remove the refuse.

Hirsch said the damage was estimated at over R30 million.

“Sasria couldn’t pay out immediately, we had to use our own money to rebuild and restock. We basically patched up where we could to get the store into a workable condition until such time as the Sasria insurance pays out,” she said.


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