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Two major shopping malls in the EC sold in multi-billion rand property deal

Home Business Management Finance & Investment Two major shopping malls in the EC sold in multi-billion rand property...

TWO of the Eastern Cape’s largest shopping centres – Baywest Mall in Nelson Mandela Bay and Hemingways Mall in Buffalo City have changed hands.

The iconic super-regional malls, which have been in business rescue since 2022, were sold to South African property company, Hangar 18, for R1.3-billion each in September 2023 and have now transferred to their new owners.

“We are very excited about the acquisition of Baywest and Hemingways and have enjoyed our interactions with our centre management teams, tenants and shoppers. First and foremost, we, as a business, look to form close working relationships with our tenants,” said Hangar 18 co-founder and joint CEO Marc Edwards.

The 90,000 sqm Baywest Mall opened its doors in May 2015 and the 74,000 sqm Hemingways Mall opened in 2009. Both are firm favourites for shoppers living in and visiting the two metros of the Eastern Cape.

“We are excited to take ownership of these landmark properties and look forward to bringing fresh new energy and ideas which we hope will translate into an enhanced customer experience. We have clear plans for each of the malls and look forward to rolling out our strategy with our shoppers, tenants, and staff.  We are encouraged by the development of the residential node surrounding Baywest and believe that this will continue, bringing more shoppers to the mall. Hemingways is well established in its community, and we plan to enhance its look and feel over time,” said Edwards.

The new owners have a long history in the property industry in both listed and unlisted properties in South Africa and abroad.

“We have excellent relationships with banks, capital providers, national tenants and listed real estate investment trusts. We will be using this network of contacts and the company’s expertise to manage the properties in a very hands-on way,” said Edwards.

Hangar 18’s shareholders include the Ubuntu Football Trust and Jade Capital Partners. The beneficiaries of the Ubuntu Football Trust are South African youth in their not-for-profit football academy.

“The team at Hangar 18, with the support of centre management staff, intends to be actively involved in the local community, including forming close relationships with local schools where the malls will become an integral part of the surrounding communities,” said Edwards.

He stressed that the focus for now will be on “doing the basics right” and offering a shopping experience deserving of the local and visiting shopper at both Hemingways Mall and Baywest Mall.

The acquisition of the malls along with Hangar 18’s acquisition (also out of business rescue) of the Gauteng-based malls – Forest Hill City, Bloed Street Mall and Sunny Park Shopping Centre – saved more than 50 jobs, as well as hundreds more indirect jobs of the tenants and service providers who work at the malls.

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