Building contractors are on site at Paledi Mall in the rural Limpopo town of Mankweng, with construction under way on the 7 000sqm third phase expansion of the centre that will take it to 32 000sqm in size. The project will entrench the mall’s position as a regional shopping centre for the community with several new stores, service offerings and leisure spaces.
Paledi Mall’s owners, Pretoria-based Twin City Development, is investing more than R130 million in the expansion and has brought in trusted leasing and development specialists, Retail Network Services (RNS), to advise on the project and to get the right retail mix.
“Opened in 2009, and expanded in 2015, Paledi Mall has been such a resounding success that we’re expanding the centre yet again. The expansion is due to the performance of the centre, demand from retailers and research into what our local shoppers want. Contractors are already on site and we are looking to have the new expanded section opened by October this year,” says Ryno de Leeuw, Chief Operations Officer of Twin City Development.
“This is an exciting development project and investment for Twin City, coming just over four years after we expanded the mall to around 25 000sqm. The mall has established itself as a focal point for the community. Through this expansion we want the centre to retain its dominance in the market by increasing its retail offering and convenience, while also bolstering its position as a social hub with more restaurant, leisure and family-friendly facilities.”
Gavin Tagg, Chief Executive Officer of RNS, says he feels proud to continue working with the Twin City Development group, having been involved in the expansion back in 2015. “It is a great retail asset with great potential and has evolved and expanded over the years to cater for a growing community and diverse needs. This latest expansion will see the centre increasing its offering with a greater tenant mix, more food outlets and leisure elements.”
“There will be no reason for people from the local community to drive out of town to shop. We have done our research and are bringing in retailers and fashion brands the community would like to see in their area. We are also boosting the centre’s social appeal, with a new amphitheatre and outdoor area for locals to hang out in that will include food outlets, kids play areas and seating to relax and socialise,” adds Tagg.
Twin City appointed Fernridge Consulting to do extensive research in the local community in terms of what they would like to see at the mall, in addition to getting insight into the local economy, employment and spending trends.
The research, which included a survey of 800 shoppers, provided some fascinating insights. One of the key findings is that Mankweng continues to grow into a fully-fledged town with the number of households increasing from around 32 000 in 2014 to 36 500 in 2016. A key driver of the growth is Mankweng’s location just 4km from the University of Limpopo’s main campus. The town is also home to the Mankweng District Hospital, a regional magistrate’s court, as well as a public library.
Furthermore, Paledi Mall’s location just off the R71 arterial road to Polokwane means it enjoys high visibility and large traffic volumes. The R71 carries a considerable number of commercial trucks as well as public and private traffic daily, with the mall acting as a one-stop-shop for those travelling between Polokwane and Tzaneen.
“Paledi Mall is in a prime position - just 10km west of the popular hub Moria - where seasonal pilgrimages significantly increase traffic on this already busy road. Up to 5 million worshippers make their way to Moria for their annual Easter pilgrimage, which serves as a further annual boost to the mall and area’s growth,” explains De Leeuw.
He adds that as part of the mall extension, Twin City is investing into an upgrade of the taxi rank adjacent to the mall. The taxi rank is a major transport hub in Mankweng and a key connection for the mall, with some 60% of its shoppers using public transport.
“All signs point to further growth in Mankweng, driven largely by its location a few kilometres’ walking distance from the University of Limpopo. It has some 18 000 students, which has seen the demand for student accommodation increase significantly in the town, with many entrepreneurial locals expanding their homes and renting out space to students,” says Tagg.
“The growth of student accommodation is set to continue and become more formalised, which will result in a further boon for Paledi Mall.”
The current expansion at Paledi Mall will see its retail mix and service offering increase by some 30 new stores, restaurants and service outlets, which will take its store complement to more than 80 outlets. Well-known butchery chain Roots is one of the big new tenants, and it will also have a Roots Grill takeaway outlet, while a new stand-alone McDonald’s is being planned for the centre.
The Spar Group’s Tops liquor outlet and BuildIt store are both being significantly expanded as part of the centre’s R130 million extension. RNS is in discussion with major banks, including First National Bank and Absa, to either expand at the centre or open a new branch, together with additional health and beauty offerings, cosmetics and further fashion brands.
Anchor tenants already present at the centre include Shoprite, SuperSpar and Woolworths, while further major brands include Mr Price, Jet, Bradlows, OK Furniture, Ackermans, Pep, Tekkie Town and retail brands within the Foschini and Truworths groups. Fast food brands at the centre, include a stand-alone KFC outlet as well as Nando’s, Debonairs Pizza, ChesaNyama and Galito’s.