V&A Waterfront to undergo rejuvenation

Cape Town’s premier retail, leisure and commercial destination, the V&A Waterfront, is about to embark on a R35-million rejuvenation drive that will see an extensive upgrade to the food court area in its flagship shopping centre, Victoria Wharf.

“The V&A Waterfront’s growing popularity as a preferred family leisure destination underscores the need for the massive overhaul that has been planned for the Victoria Wharf Food Court for some time,” says Alex Kabalin, newly appointed retail executive at the V&A Waterfront.

Central to this development is the structural and interior reconfiguration of the existing convenience food section on the lower level of the Victoria Wharf. This will be achieved by optimising the unique positioning of its quality fast food offering, and accommodating a 40% increase in the number of fast food outlets.

“This project will ultimately ensure full integration of the Victoria Wharf’s dining offering with the overall retail and leisure experience,” Kabalin says.

“The existing food court does not fully capitalise on its unique setting. This refurbishment will now ensure optimal use of space by creating a free flow natural indoor/outdoor communal dining area around a vibrant communal location and the children’s play area. And diners will have spectacular views across the central entertainment hub, working harbour and Table Mountain,” he says.

Optimising views, location

Creating the right ambience is a major focus area of this refurbishment. Each shopping centre boasts a unique character, and there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ food court design that provides the optimal in-mall dining solution for each venue.

“This rings particularly true in the case of the Victoria Wharf,” says Kabalin. “The planned new space needs to encapsulate that distinctly ‘Cape Town-flavoured point of difference’, ensuring that our tenants, visitors and staff alike continue to experience the unique tastes, sounds and sights that are synonymous with the V&A Waterfront, here at the heart of South Africa’s oldest working harbour”.
Kabalin believes that, central to the V&A Waterfront’s unique positioning as one of the most desirable and visited leisure destinations on the African continent, has been its ability to maintain the optimum mix of retail, leisure and dining solutions that continue to attract local, national and international visitors.

Planning key to optimal tenant mix

Kabalin highlights that responding to consumer expectations and adapting one’s offering accordingly must focus on key aspects such as tenancy mix, adjacencies and appropriate site selection. “Insights into consumer expectations were carefully assessed against rigorous space management and strategic lease planning principles,” he explains.  “It is essential to anticipate and plan for retail leasing cycles well in advance.  By doing so, we can ensure that tenant offerings remain in sync with, and we can continue to respond to, the changing needs of our consumers”.

“The V&A Waterfront is world class and so needs to constantly refresh and improve, to maintain our standards and deliver on what our customers expect from us”.

He believes that the V&A Waterfront, by its sheer nature, entices visitors to linger longer. “Our visitors want to shop, eat and be entertained while they’re here. The newly configured space aims to support these needs and enhance our visitors’ overall retail experience,” Kabalin says.
Food Court Upgrade

Construction and refurbishment of the Victoria Wharf food court will commence at the beginning of May 2012, and is set to be completed by November this year. Kabalin advises that current food court tenants will be unable to continue operating from their existing space during this time due to the reconfiguration of the space.

“Visitors will however have access to existing casual eateries and specialty food outlets not affected by this move, and located nearby. These include McDonald’s, Ocean Basket, Spur, Gelato Mania, San Marco and Kauai,” Kabalin says. “The much acclaimed artisanal bakery and bistro, Vovo Telo, is also scheduled to open soon,” he says.

This project has been planned during the quieter winter months in an effort to cause as little disruption as possible to existing tenants, staff and visitors.

The amphitheatre, the heart of the V&A Waterfront entertainment hub, and central to the outdoor food court section, will remain out-of-use for most of the duration of the renovation process. “This is normally the case during winter, but we are also taking into account the highly sensitive nature of the amphitheatre screen and electronic equipment,” Kabalin says.

Development at the V&A Waterfront

The food court rejuvenation follows a number of recent sizeable development initiatives across the V&A Waterfront, including the extensive R1-billion development at the Clock Tower Precinct, including the No. 1 Silo, which commenced last year.

“These expansion projects have spurred renewed energy and interest in the V&A Waterfront as a premier mixed-use development company,” Kabalin says. “Given its proximity to the city centre and major freeways, and sporting some of the best views in Cape Town, in a safe and secure environment, the V&A Waterfront is the preferred lifestyle destination and most sought-after address in Cape Town,” he concludes.

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