South African property development giant, Eris Property Group has announced that a R500 million regional shopping mall is to be developed on the N6 Cathcart Road opposite the rapidly emerging area of Komani Park in Queenstown, an economic hub in the Eastern Cape. Shareholders in Eris include Rand Merchant Bank, Royal Bafokeng Holdings and the Tiso Group who have recently announced their merger with Kagiso Holdings.

Phase 1 of the centre, to be known as “Q Mall” will extend to 33 000sqm and offer over 100 shops, including the latest style Checkers supermarket, while a brand new Edgars and Jet store will anchor the fashion offering. CTM will open with a new facility on the site bringing the world of DIY to the mix. Phase 2 will offer a further 8 000sqm of additional retail and entertainment facilities in future.

Rob Terry, development manager of the project, says that the site’s location between the venerable but overcrowded CBD and the major township of Ezebeleni means that it is ideally situated for all of Queenstown’s shoppers. Its frontage onto the newly upgraded N6 arterial route allows easy access for those using Queenstown as a base from surrounding areas and towns such as Cathcart, Dordrecht and numerous others. “No longer will people have to drive for two hours to East London for their major shopping. It will all be right here on their doorstep.”

The developers are busy finalising their arrangements with a host of other well-known retailers. “If you can think of a retail brand they are probably going to be in Q Mall,” says Ivan Pachonick, director: retail consulting for JHI property services group, which is leasing the project. “The outstanding response from the retail sector reaffirms the strong demand and that the timing is right for a modern, regional shopping facility in Queenstown,” he adds.
The new shopping centre is also located immediately opposite the proposed new 15 000sqm government and municipal office precinct at Komani Park, which together with surrounding proposals for 20ha of new affordable housing was recently put out to tender. Billy Forssman of Eris Property Group says that this is a clear indication of the importance of this area of Queenstown as the growth node for the town. “With a total of over R1 billion being spent here over the next two years we look forward to further developments to ease the pressure on the CBD. Queenstown’s centre is still largely as it was laid out in the 1800’s and times have changed. There are major difficulties associated with trying to access services as well as shopping there, from parking issues to congested and broken pavements and long walks between different shops. This new node will bring together all the goods, services and government departments in a single, clean, convenient and easily accessible location,” says Forssman.

Due to open for Christmas 2012, Q Mall is being designed by leading architects Boogertman and Partners in association with ADA Architects. Boogertman were the architects for the iconic new ‘Calabash’ design Johannesburg World Cup Stadium and recently completed the new Melrose Arch retail development in Johannesburg, as well as designing uShaka Marine World in Durban and several retail complexes around South Africa.

Issued by Gaye de Villiers

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