R300m revamp for Greenacres

FACING THE FUTURE: An artist’s impression  of a new entrance to   Greenacres in Port Elizabeth. Improvements to the centre are scheduled to be completed by April 2016
FACING THE FUTURE: An artist’s impression of a new entrance to Greenacres in Port Elizabeth. Improvements to the centre are scheduled to be completed by April 2016

PORT Elizabeth shoppers will see one of their favourite shopping centres evolving with a whole new look, feel and experience over the next two years.

New owners of the Greenacres Shopping Centre, Acucap, will soon start a R300-million revamp of the centre, hoping to make it more competitive with its existing and up-coming rivals.

Acucap chief operating officer Jonathan Rens said the more than R1-billion transaction transferred ownership of Greenacres to Acucap at the end of March this year.

Acucap already owns a 27% share in The Bridge, that forms part of the same integrated shopping complex.

“We are very excited about the upcoming projects and want to give our shoppers the best experience in Port Elizabeth when we have completed the revamp. The expansion and upgrade of Greenacres will happen in three phases, the first of which we hope to start within the next few months of this year.”

Phase one will be focused on an expanded food court, giving long-time tenants, like Wimpy and Cassie’s, the opportunity to reinvent themselves and include their latest look and feel.

At the same time, new food options will be welcomed.This phase will also include the upgrading of bathrooms, adding more modern finishes and better technology, as well as the relocation of some smaller shops to make room for subsequent developments.

The centre hopes to complete this phase by April. The next phases will be dominated by the upgrading of the mall’s principal component – clothing retailers.

Besides the expansions at the already 7200 m² Edgars, and other large retailers, more names will be added to the list of fashion outlets.

“Optimistically, the entire project should be finalised by April 2016. Some setbacks connected with the metalworkers strike have pushed our dates back a bit, but these dates are part of the initial plans.”

Rens said two of their biggest concerns and reasons for the upgrade were overcrowding and being aesthetically competitive with other centres.

“No one wants to go shopping and be overwhelmed by crowds of other shoppers. The centre is also mature, making many of its finishes outdated. The new design will create more open spaces, and have a much more modern look.”

All improvements to the centre are also aimed at increasing the wider business node’s annual turnover, which stands at R1.85-billion.

When asked about competition from Baywest Mall, scheduled for completion early next year, Rens said expansion of the city’s western suburbs had not taken off in years, and they were confident Greenacres would still be the best situated shopping centre in the city.

“Besides being situated in the city centre, and being more accessible, traffic figures show that almost 60000 vehicles pass Greenacres on both Cape Road and CJ Langenhoven Drive daily.

“Compared to the N2, that gets fewer than 20000 vehicles past the Baywest site, we should still get more people popping in on their daily commute as well.” – Riaan Marais

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