WHEN work recently started on the on the Boardwalk Mall on the Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth) beachfront, it kicked off a R700-million development drive aimed at revitalising the city’s construction, retail and hospitality industries.
The long-awaited R500-million mall project is an extension of Sun International’s Boardwalk Casino complex that will double the existing retail space to 23 000m2, the first phase of a 17-hectare redevelopment. Also on the cards for the Boardwalk precinct is a new R200-million hotel bearing the Capital Hotels Group brand.
The Mall is being developed by Gauteng-based shopping centre developer Flanagan & Gerard Group, which is an investor and co-owner in the project, along with Emfuleni Resorts, a subsidiary of JSE-listed Sun International.
Two-thirds of the mall’s development site in the Boardwalk Precinct was transferred to Flanagan & Gerard Group in April. Emfuleni Resorts holds the remaining third. At the same time, the plans for Boardwalk Mall received all the necessary approvals, clearing the way for construction to begin.
Speaking at the sod-turning ceremony, MEC for Finance, Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Mlungisi Mvoko described the mall as a landmark development for Nelson Mandela Bay. “The development augurs well for our agenda of growing the provincial economy by creating jobs,” Mvoko said, congratulating Flanagan and Sun Boardwalk for providing a welcome boost for the Eastern Cape economy in general and the Nelson Mandela Bay economy in particular.
Mvoko said R290 million of all goods and services would be procured locally, helping to revitalise and expand economic opportunities. “By providing people with a variety of hospitality experiences, Boardwalk Mall will also have a direct impact on tourism numbers.”
Nelson Mandela Bay Mayor Nqaba Bhanga described the development as “forward looking” and well-located on the city’s beachfront. “We must design a vision of the city that is owned by everybody and Boardwalk Mall talks to this, helping to position ourselves as a sporting and entertainment destination,” Bhanga said.
Bongi Siwisa, Chairperson of Emfuleni Resorts, who addended the sod turning for the initial Boarwalk development 23 years ago, said the latest extension and upgrade “will enable redevelopment of this precinct as well as provide much-needed employment and an economic revival in our metro”.
Paul Gerard, MD of Flanagan & Gerard, said, “One of the most inspiring aspects of Boardwalk Mall and the extended Boardwalk Precinct is that it will provide a genuinely exciting, engaging and immersive experience and an enjoyable meeting place where locals can also fulfil their daily retail needs”.
Boardwalk Mall, when completed, will have 80 stores. Big names in retail will include Checkers and Checkers Liquorshop, Pick n Pay and Pick n Pay Liquor, Woolworths, Clicks, Dis-Chem and NuMetro. In addition, the mall’s tenant mix includes, The Magic Company, Spur, Fishaways, Debonairs, Steers, Wimpy, Ackermans, Pick n Pay Clothing and the Crazy Store.
In a second boost for the precinct, Marc Wachsberger CEO of The Capital Hotels Group has confirmed their plans to invest in a new hotel there.
“We have not signed an agreement as yet, but the deal is being finalised. Our plan is to invest around R200 million in what will be the group’s first foray into the city and the Eastern Cape. It is part of our broader plans to expand in South Africa beyond our current presence in the major cities of Joburg, Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban,” Wachsberger told Moneyweb.
The hotel’s lobby will open into the mall.
The Boardwalk Mall’s first phase is set to be completed and launched on 9 December 2021. The official opening, which marks the second phase’s completion, is scheduled for 22 September 2022. There is no set start or completion date for the hotel yet.