Changes ahead at Boardwalk

Mall development part of multimillion-rand facelift

Nelson Mandela Bay’s beachfront hotel, entertainment and gaming complex the Sun Boardwalk will undergo a multimillion-rand facelift this year when work begins on a new, multi-purpose mall development there in September.

Scores of jobs are expected to be created during the construction phase at the complex and, while unrelated to Sun Boardwalk, the independent tenants who occupy the new mall are also expected to generate a substantial number of job opportunities.

With the complex having been heavily affected by an increase in smaller gaming offerings and new malls in the metro, Sun Boardwalk’s new build is expected to positively contribute to its balance sheet.

The go-ahead for the new mall – first mooted in 2016 – was announced at a breakfast event at the hotel complex yesterday.

Sun Boardwalk general manager Mike van Vuuren said the announcement was “a teaser”, with more details of the project to be revealed in July.

As such, no financial details and figures around the actual mall, the construction component of the project, staff numbers or any other related details were made available yesterday.

Three of the country’s prominent brands are expected to anchor the new development.

Van Vuuren said the first phase of construction would start in September, directly after the Ironman 70.3 World Championships to be held in the Bay on September 1 and 2.

He said the project was now in the pre-letting phase to secure tenants ahead of the build, after Sun Boardwalk had received the go-ahead from the Eastern Cape Gaming Board to proceed with the mall development.

The funding required for the development would be unlocked when tenants had been secured for the mall.

Revealing that the business was increasing its focus on sporting events in the city, Van Vuuren said in addition to the September Ironman event, Nelson Mandela Bay was also the host city to the Ironman Africa Championships next month

“The Boardwalk will be a central hub to both events. We did not want to disrupt them in any way so we decided any construction would start after the first weekend in September.”

He said the Boardwalk was also mindful of the December trading season and how this would be affected after the start of construction a few months earlier.

The selection of the contractors for the first phase of construction, which Van Vuuren said would include local SMMEs, would be announced, along with the anchor tenants, in July.

The development will see some wholesale changes in the complex, including a reduction in the size of the central lake, alongside which a new Sun Park would be positioned.

Described as a state-of-theart, highly adaptable exhibition and events area, the Sun Park is expected to both complement and grow the Boardwalk’s convention and conference offerings and operations.

“The new area will certainly not dilute our current offerings at the International Convention Centre, but will complement this side of the business.

“This will give us the opportunity to grow through being able to expand our events offering to things like car shows.”

When the original plans for a mall at the complex were first revealed in 2016, the project was described as a R1.3-billion investment with the potential to create thousands of jobs during construction and afterwards.

The development had been stalled due to, among other challenges, difficulties in obtaining the necessary approvals from the gambling authorities.