BLUE ROUTE MALL
Shoppers enjoy an entirely new shopping experience in the comfort of a brand new building with modern furnishings and up-to-date designs and technologies.
A welcome change for Cape Town’s Grand Lady of Tokai
The multimillion rand Blue Route Mall development is well under way, with phase one of construction having commenced in April 2010 and completion of the project will be done in two sections in 2012. The first part of completion entails the new building that will be fully built and functional by March 2012; the second part will see the completion of the engrade parking by October 2012 which is when the official launch of Blue Route Mall will take place.
The Blue Route Mall was built in the early 1970s and progressively expanded from a marginal convenience centre to a bustling Mall of over 48,000m2 of retail space. It was the only major Mall in the southern suburbs area for many years, attracting people from the Kirstenhof, Tokai and Constantia areas. After this project is complete, the Mall will attract people from all over Cape Town and as far as the Cape Peninsula and the Atlantic Seaboard. Blue Route Mall will regain its title of the largest retail precinct in Cape Town’s Southern Suburbs.
Rebuild vs. Refurbish
The decision to build a completely new Mall as opposed to refurbishing the existing building came after much deliberation and research by the landlord, Fountainhead Property Trust. They felt that because the building was so old and vulnerable, it would be very expensive to revive its appearance and aesthetics to the required status. Thus, a completely new development was agreed upon whereby shoppers will be able to enjoy an entirely new shopping experience in the comfort of a brand new building with modern furnishings and up-to-date designs and technologies.
Trevor Matthews, Landlord Representative of Fountainhead Property Trust, explains: “Blue Route Mall has performed in stellar fashion over the years and has been upgraded and expanded on a piece-meal basis. Relative to the new competition, research has proven that Blue Route Mall’s comparative position was in decline. The cream of the local market is being lost to the Mall’s other Southern Suburbs competitors. Given this huge need, we made the obvious decision not to refurbish but rather to rebuild the Mall completely.
This is also in recognising that the existing Mall is structurally incapable (as an envelope) of meeting modern needs. The existing Mall itself is spatially dated not simply in terms of finish, but architecturally as well. The new Mall speaks to the aspirations of the people in the area and we, as Fountainhead Property Trust, are dedicated to provide the Cape Town Southern Suburbs with an entirely new retail and lifestyle facility which is appropriate and indeed demanded.”
What to expect
The new Mall will be an extra 8,000m2 bigger, having expanded from a previous size of 48,000m2 to an impressive 56,000m2. This in turn will increase the tenancy from 104 shops to 137 shops including Woolworths, Checkers Hyper and Edgars as the anchor tenants. Shoppers will be able to enjoy larger outlets, a dedicated food court with diverse cuisine offerings , as well as trendy coffee shops and restaurants. In addition to this, shoppers can look forward to modern ablutions and other customer friendly facilities such as more parking bays, 24 hours security, wheelchair-friendly access and restrooms, baby-changing facilities and well located information desks.
Wendy Radford, Blue Route Mall’s Centre Manager from Broll Property Management believes that “the success of any retail building lies in a good tenant mix. The new Blue Route Mall will still retain a large majority of our shoppers’ familiar favourites, but added to this we have introduced eclectic and exciting additions to our tenant mix offering.
The revitalised tenant mix will establish our market position and market share allowing shoppers a varied array of merchandise they could not access before at Blue Route Mall. The aesthetic details considered in the new Blue Route Mall are welcoming and comfortable. Careful attention has been given to the modern finishes, features and attractions for all interactions that our valued shopper will experience in their new Mall.”
Construction and Design
The architect, Louis Karol, has chosen to incorporate the beautiful surroundings of the area in his innovative design of the Blue Route Mall. The new food court will be enclosed by panoramic windows capturing mountain views and glimpses of the Tokai Forest. Generous natural light will flood the interiors as a result of the extensive skylights, thereby minimising the carbon footprint. The generous width of the Mall walkways exceeds the standard mall requirements, therefore vertical movement throughout the Mall will be made easier allowing for optimal flow of shoppers to all areas of the Mall. Specific focus has been placed on the comfort of shoppers, especially the elderly, disabled as well as parents with children. “Pause” areas have been designed to accommodate the focus as well as ample parking in prime positions.
Approximately 2,500 parking bays will pepper the exterior of the Mall, including an additional approximation of 1,200 undercover bays.
- 33,000m2 of reinforced concrete will be utilised during the project
- 118,000m2 of formwork will be utilised
- 2.6 million bricks will be used
- 55,000m2 of plaster will be used
- 60,000m2 of screeds will be used
- 4,000 tonnes of steel will be utilised
- There is almost 100km of conduit of different sizes for this project
- Approximately 10kms of cable ladder of different sizes will be incorporated in the project
- 16,280m2 of scaffolding will be used
- 20,750m2 of existing Mall will be demolished
- Bulk excavations will total 75,000m3
- Concrete foundation piles equate to 1,500
- Approximately 1,000 workers will be employed on site
- Approximately 50 specialists sub-contractors will be employed for the project
- An approximate of 2 million man-hours will be tallied for this project.
As with any major project, challenges are to be expected. Some of the challenges encountered during this new development process to date include an extensive concrete roof slab to be constructed on the top of the first floor of the new building to accommodate equipment such as air conditioning plants and the like. Another challenge, which is in fact a positive one, is to ensure that the new Mall can accommodate the vast amount of enquiries for space from both national as well as speciality retailers.
Extensive piling work needed to take place within the immediate vicinity of the Checkers Hyper store which is currently trading and will continue to do so throughout the project. This proved to be a challenge as the developers do not want to hinder the shoppers experience any more than it has been. However, all piling work was planned for conclusion by the end of February 2011.
Another challenge has been to retain as much parking as possible as the availability of parking during the first phase of demolition was reduced considerable. 700 new parking bays will become available in June 2011 which will be integrated into the existing trading Mall as part of the Checkers Hyper underground parking.
Burgert de Jager, of BFH de Jager Project Managers, re-iterates that “as project managers, we strive to strike a balance between the neighbour, the shopper and the contractor, to continuously ensure that each of these parties is accommodated to the full. Daily monitoring of the surrounding area by a team of environmentalists, traffic, health and safety and ourselves ensures that we minimise the inconvenience to our surrounding neighbours and keep the project as well as the balance of the centre, trading smoothly”.
With phase two of this shopping Mall development project well under way, and construction of the new Mall in sight, shoppers are waiting in anticipation for a whole new shopping experience.