RETAIL: Revamp Of Shopping Centre a Boost for Local Economy
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Providing an economic boost for the scenic Hilton area of the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands is the announcement that The Quarry shopping centre, which was recently purchased from Old Mutual by a consortium of investors, is to undergo a major revamp.
Built in 1993 the centre comprises 6 300sqm of retail and 1 700sqm of office space, and is well positioned just 1km from the Hilton off-ramp from the N2 highway at the crest of Town Hill, 6km west of Pietermaritzburg. A unique feature is the location of the centre on the edge of a former quarry – now water-filled and attractively landscaped.
David Keal, who represents the consortium says the major redevelopment will take five months to complete at an estimated cost of R10 million.
Comments Keal: “The acquisition of The Quarry is in line with our investment strategy of focusing primarily on high quality retail shopping centres which are also sound retail income producing investments. It takes years for a centre to establish itself as successful, and quality retail centres such as The Quarry are the scarcest property assets and as a result are highly sought after. Through careful and attentive management, it is our intention to extensively refurbish this centre in a vibrant redevelopment which will position it as the preferred shopping centre in the region, thereby retaining tenants and improving rental growth.”
Keal says Hilton is rapidly becoming the preferred destination for Pietermaritzburg based companies wishing to relocate their offices from the CBD. “In regard to the office space in The Quarry we are delighted to have already concluded two five year leases, comprising a total of 1 172sqm, with Wildlands Trust and ActionCOACH. In terms of the retail space, we have signed up new leases with Woolworths Food and also secured the ongoing commitment of three of the major banks, namely Standard Bank, Nedbank and First National Bank – all of whom have signed new leases. In addition, the Super SPAR will also be undergoing a major revamp which will include a ‘state-of-the-art’ deli and Tops Bottle Store,” adds Keal.
Says Rob Moran, KwaZulu-Natal regional director for JHI property services group, which has been appointed managing agents for The Quarry: “In addition to providing the local community with a comprehensive retail offering and enjoyable shopping experience within a highly appealing environment, the revamped centre will have a positive impact on the local economy by reducing the flow of consumer spending out of the area to the Midlands Mall in Pietermaritzburg.” JHI manages a number of high profile major shopping centres in KwaZulu-Natal, including Shelly Centre in Margate, The Crescent in Umhlanga, The Workshop in Durban, Chatsworth Centre in Chatsworth and Sanlam Centre in Empangeni, among others.
Well situated at the gateway to the popular Midlands Meander, The Quarry will cater for the requirements of the growing population of Hilton, as well as tourists, weekend pleasure seekers and parents visiting their children at any of the prestigious local private schools such as Hilton College, St Anne’s, Michaelhouse and Cowan House.
While The Quarry has undergone numerous alterations and extensions in the past, it will now have a completely new look. The new owners’ objective is to create a lighter, brighter and more interesting facade which will provide an appealing, visual connection with shoppers as they approach from the car park.
Says Keal: “What we aim to achieve is to open up the centre, capitalising on its unique and attractive surrounds and creating new life and interest through revisiting the walkway roof, introducing striking entrance features and replacing existing shop fronts with more extensive, clean opening shop fronts. There will also be new signage and lighting. Adding colourful elements to the centre and introducing indigenous landscaping interlinked with functional, accessible piazza style walkways will further enhance its contemporary feel while making the centre vibrant, lively and functional. The new piazzas will be anchored by Jaxx Bistro, recently voted by the KZN south coast community as the best and most popular restaurant.”
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