The much-anticipated Baywest Mall in Port Elizabeth will be finished by April.
This is the word from Baywest managing director Gavin Blows.
“Everything is on track for Baywest Mall’s grand opening in mid April barring any interruptions, such as the labour unrest which was experienced throughout the construction industry last year,” Blows said yesterday.
With construction on the region’s biggest mall having briefly shut down from December 23 to January 5, Blows said: “It’s full steam ahead until we open.
“Fortunately, the wet weather over the festive season had no effect on the Baywest build as work on site had already shut down for the year.”
He said the date of the grand opening still had to be determined, but if everything went according to plan the mall would open in midApril. The initial date was March 19.
The construction value of the mall is about R1.7-billion.
The mall includes 90 000m² of gross leasable area and a parking area for about 3 200 vehicles.
The construction project, on the go for more than a year and a half so far, has employed close to 4 300 people on site and, once open, the mall will employ a further 1 500 people.
“We commenced construction on the mall in July 2013. For a project this size – building a 90 000m² super-regional mall – managing a build in under 22 months is an amazing feat.
“We are also very proud of the fact that we have surpassed our targets for employment during the construction phase by more than 40%,” Blows said.
The developers initially forecast that 3 000 direct jobs would be created with the construction.
The development of the mall is a joint venture between Abacus Asset Management and Billion Group.
Construction milestones achieved last year include completing the mall’s 65 000m² roof as well as a bridge over the N2 freeway.
Many of the 250-plus stores are expected to be handed over to major tenants later this month.
Meanwhile, the first phase of the R300-million Baywest roads development project, by roads developer Basil Read, is also on course to be completed by March.
This includes linking the western suburbs to the N2 by extending Sherwood’s Walker Drive with a multi-lane road that will encircle the mall.
The mall is expected to act as a catalyst for the development of a lifestyle precinct – Baywest City – and thus construction is expected to continue once the mall opens.
About 25% of the 320ha Baywest City site has been allocated for environmental preservation.
– Cindy Preller