New R1.8 billion public piazza, shopping and leisure hub at Menlyn Maine

Central Square – the new R1.8 billion mixed-use development within the multi-billion rand Menlyn Maine green city mega project in Pretoria – is set to become an all new public space in the capital with a piazza, niche shopping, top end restaurants, pampering outlets, a hotel and commercial offices.

Artist’s impression of the piazza at Central Square.

That’s the word from the developers, Menlyn Maine Investment Holdings (Pty) Ltd, which co-own and are jointly investing in the Central Square development with the Government Employees Pension Fund -represented by the Public Investment Corporation SOC Limited (PIC).

The Central Square development will include a 30 000m² boutique shopping mall with a piazza as its focal point, a 213-room apartment and conferencing hotel, a 14 500m² office tower, a 4 000m² Virgin Classic gym, and a public park. Construction began in November 2014 and Central Square is set to open to the public in September 2016.

Speaking at a leasing launch in May, Henk Boogertman, architectural director of Menlyn Maine Investment Holdings (Pty) Ltd, said the Central Square development would become the focal hub of the 315 000m² Menlyn Maine green city development.

“When Central Square opens in September 2016, it is set to become a gathering place for the people of the capital city and visitors, offering niche and convenience shopping, leisure and entertainment. It will be the buzzing hub at the heart of Menlyn Maine,” he said.

“Menlyn Maine is a ground-breaking, mixed-used decentralised green city project, and Central Square is the latest development to be launched in the project. Central Square is not a shopping centre; it is going to be a mixed-use destination with 30 000m² of boutique retail, a hotel, commercial offices, a public park and home to the only Virgin Classic gym in Pretoria,” Boogertman said.

Central Square will be pedestrianised, with direct street access to Sun International’s R3bn Time Square casino, five star hotel and 8 000-seater multi-purpose arena development planned for part of the Menlyn Maine precinct.

PIC chief financial officer, Matshepo More, told guests at the recent leasing launch that the PIC has notable investments in the property sector. However, Central Square is one of the biggest new investments the PIC is involved with in a retail and mixed-use development.

Kgosientso Ramokgopa, Executive Mayor of the City of Tshwane, who also spoke at the launch, welcomed the huge investment by Menlyn Maine Investment Holdings and the PIC in the capital city.

“Attracting investment is a key part of the city’s responsibility and another is creating the infrastructure and environment needed to secure such investments and developments. The Menlyn area is an important node of the city, which is attracting massive private sector investment,” he said.

“One of the biggest infrastructure projects currently underway in the City of Tshwane, in the area of public transport, is our multi-billion rand bus rapid transport system. As a key node, Menlyn will become one of the hubs of the system, which is our version of Johannesburg’s Rea Vaya BRT system. It will offer quality public transport and support developments such as Menlyn Maine,” said Ramokgopa.

The mayor also expressed excitement at the tourism and leisure aspects of the Central Square and broader Menlyn Maine developments. He said the tourism and hospitality sector was one of the new growth sectors for the city.

“We are looking to better exploit the opportunities around tourism in the metro. Quality hotels and leisure attractions are crucial to the growth of tourism. Developments such as Menlyn Maine help us build capacity in the hospitality industry and to ultimately attract more tourists to our city,” he said.

Ramokgopa said the city is also targeting a low carbon growth strategy, and welcomed the fact that Menlyn Maine is a landmark green city development.

Menlyn Maine is South Africa’s first green, mixed-use city. 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, all buildings in the precinct are set to be rated 4 Green Star SA or higher by the Green Building Council of South Africa. It is also targeting a LEED ND certification for the precinct.

Leading shopping centre development, investment and leasing group, Flanagan & Gerard Property Development and Investment, has been appointed as the retail leasing consultancy for the retail mix at Menlyn Maine Central Square.

“The Central Square boutique mall will complement rather than compete with the neighbouring Menlyn Park super-regional shopping centre. It will be niche and will be tailored to a specific market with the capital being home to a significant number of foreign embassies,” said Patrick Flanagan, executive director of Flanagan & Gerard.

“The mall will be different to normal shopping centres. It is targeted to be the point of first call for convenience shopping, and the piazza is set to be a public and meeting place with top end restaurants, beauty and pampering outlets, as well as other service offerings,” he said.

Central Square will be anchored by a line up of grocery shopping from Pick n Pay, Woolworths Food and SuperSpar. Pretoria’s only Virgin Active Classic Gym is its fourth anchor. It 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.

Central Square will also have about 1 800 basement parking bays and 300 open parking 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 Menlyn Park Shopping Centre.

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