R1.8 billion mixed-use Central Square brings retail, restaurants and leisure to Menlyn Maine

The multi-billion rand 315 000m² Menlyn Maine development recently announced details of the latest addition to Africa’s only green city – Central Square.

Artist’s impression of Central Square at Menlyn Maine.

Already home to leading companies like BMW, Nedbank and SAGE VIP, Menlyn Maine’s new Central Square will introduce a 30 000m² boutique shopping mall, with a piazza, a 213-room apartment and conferencing hotel, a 14 500m² office tower, a 4 000m² Virgin Classic Gym, and a public park.

Central Square is co-owned by Menlyn Maine Investment Holdings (Pty) Ltd and the Government Employees Pension Fund (represented by the Public Investment Corporation SOC Limited), which are together investing R1.8 billion in this development.

Francois Roos, director of Menlyn Maine Investments, says: “Central Square takes our vision for the Menlyn Main green city forward, and will be the heart of the Menlyn Maine precinct as well as the hub of the Menlyn node. Its central piazza will be ideal for events, markets, exhibitions and concerts, and its park, together with is retail, restaurants, offices and much more, will create a vibrant, decentralised new city centre.”

PIC chief executive, Dr Daniel Matjila, says: “This asset will create a productive communal space and delivers value to our clients while making a meaningful addition to much needed sustainable infrastructure, which benefits everyone. It also reinforces the PIC and the Government Employees Pension Fund’s position as major players in the retail property sector as well as improving its office holdings, and supports our commitment to responsible investment. Furthermore, this investment confirms our commitment to developmental investment, which generates financial and social returns for all the stakeholders involved.”

Menlyn Maine is South Africa’s first green, mixed-use city. It’s more than a collection of award-winning green buildings in one place; everything between the buildings is also designed to be environmentally sustainable, from its sidewalks and streets, to its parks and squares. The benefits go beyond a lighter carbon footprint and lower electricity bills, to the enjoyment of a quality experience in a distinguished address, designed to promote responsible, healthy lifestyles.

As a partner of the Clinton Climate Initiative, Menlyn Maine is one of 16 green cities being built in various countries, and the only one in Africa.

“In line with Menlyn Maine’s exceptional sustainability benchmarks, Central Square’s buildings will be designed for a Green Building Council South Africa Four-Star Green Star SA rating, and for a LEED ND certification for the precinct,” says Henk Boogertman, architectural director of Menlyn Maine Investment Holdings (Pty) Ltd.

“Central Square’s buildings, central piazza, parks, tree-lined boulevards, and generously landscaped sidewalks with seating and rest areas are all designed around people, green living and sustainability. They continue the ethos of Menlyn Maine, which is pedestrian friendly and walkable with wide pavements, and will be the only urban precinct in SA with dedicated bicycle lanes,” says Boogertman.

Construction of Central Square started in November 2014. Its main contractor is WBHO. The official launch of the project to the public and the media will be on May 28 and it is set to open in September 2016. The project, which is going ahead apace, will have around 1 800 construction workers on site at the peak of construction.

Linda Riley, leasing and investment adviser at Menlyn Maine, says that leasing demand is already strong, with the retail component of Central Square already more than 60 percent pre-let, and attracting keen interest.

“Central Square is being tailored to discerning shoppers, office workers and residents who prefer simplicity, beauty and best-of-breed brands, as well as niche market stores and restaurants,” says Riley.

Flanagan & Gerard Property Development and Investment has been appointed as the retail leasing consultancy.

The mall will be anchored by grocery shops from Pick n Pay, Woolworths Food and SuperSpar. Pretoria’s only Virgin Active Classic Gym is its fourth anchor. Central Square will also feature 88 hand-picked speciality stores and branches of major banks.

Restaurants already committed at Central Square include Tasha’s, Koi, Bistro, Turn ‘n Tender, Mythos, Remos, Frank’s and Fego. They will be joined by several other cafes, coffee shops, patisseries and eateries.

The added attraction of a new 213-room hotel, built and owned by The Capital Group, will create an executive apartments, hotel and conference concept that is integrated with Menlyn Maine Central Square.

Central Square will also feature around 1 800 basement parking bays and 300 open bays enhancing its ease of access, convenience and pedestrian links to the surrounding precinct.

Located minutes away from the N1’s Atterbury and Garsfontein interchanges, Central Square is right off the main arterial of January Masilela Road, and 500m from the main entrance of the super-regional Menlyn Park Shopping Centre.

Its location also means it benefits from exceptional transport connections. This includes access to three Gautrain bus stops, the new BRT bus system and a taxi terminus. The Menlyn Maine precinct is designed to welcome pedestrians. Fewer cars on the roads also mean lower carbon emissions. It is also surrounded by medical facilities, schools, and all the amenities that come with being in the heart of the growing eastern suburbs of Pretoria.

Boogertman says there is also much more to come at Menlyn Maine, including the launch of its residential apartments later this year and the R3bn Time Square development of Sun International, which will include a five star hotel, an 8 000-seater multi-purpose arena, conference facilities and a 10 000m² casino with restaurants and retail. The amendment of the Morula casino licence to permit its relocation to Menlyn Maine Time Square has been approved by the Gauteng Gambling Board.

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