Can South Africa support another “mega mall”?

Can South Africa support another “mega mall”?

A new mega mall Waterfall City is located between Johannesburg and Pretoria. One of the most notable features of the mall that sets it apart from other malls is that it is also the largest mall on the continent to offer all consumers and retailers throughout the mall access to a high-end Wi-Fi network.

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Background

The new Mall of Africa is in Waterfall City and has been specifically designed to complement the beauty of its surrounding environment, Waterfall City is located in Midrand which is found between Johannesburg and Pretoria.

Within the main structure are a number of different courts, each with its own ‘themed environment’ including a Central African rain forest, a North African desert, an area replicating the peace and calm of the Great Lakes of Africa and an area celebrating the vast mineral wealth found in South Africa.

A key part of the Mall’s design is to ensure that both access and navigation to and around the Mall is extremely easy, this includes a total of 24 entrances, helping to make it a very customer friendly environment. It has over 130,000sqms of retail trading space making it the largest ever shopping mall to be constructed in South Africa in a single phase.

It has a number of restaurants and entertainment facilities, including a large cinema complex and over 300 shops comprising of some very high-end brands, these include Armani, Versace and Mango Man. It has also secured tenancies from a number of very well-known international fashion retailers including Zara, H&M and River Island.

Development

The construction of the mall cost over $340 million and work began on the 28th October 2012, the Mall of Africa opened fully on the 28th April 2016. Some people have questioned whether South Africa can support an additional mall as it has already seen a huge number of shopping centers open in recent years, in fact South Africa already has circa 2,000 shopping centers, ranking it 6th in the world for the most number of shopping centers in any one country.

The mall is jointly owned by two South African companies, Attacq Limited and Atterbury Property developments, and was funded by Nedbank CIB property finance.

Whilst the mall is made up of 130,000 sqms of trading space, the whole development actually covers an area of 550,000 sqms which is the equivalent to approximately 78 rugby pitches.

Cutting edge experience

The project includes a number of cutting edge concepts and technologies, including a dedicated pick-up and drop-off point for Uber (a first for South Africa) and multiple green technologies, including photovoltaic panels on the roof and public toilets that use harvested “grey water”.

One of the most notable features of the mall that sets it apart from other malls is that it is also the largest mall on the continent to offer all consumers and retailers throughout the mall access to a high-end Wi-Fi network. This ensures that not only can customers remain online throughout their shopping experience but the retailers can also use it to promote products and services to their customers in exciting and innovative new ways.

This joint venture between Ruckus Wireless and VAST networks includes some of the most advanced wireless technologies available and over 1,000 access points. The CEO of VAST Networks was recently quoted as saying, “A deployment of this scale is a massive undertaking by world standards and an African first which we are very proud of. We are ready to go and cannot wait for visitors to enjoy a Wi-Fi experience that will support any requirements, be it surfing, streaming, downloading large files or simply staying connected to their world.” And the sales director of Ruckus Wireless added, “The Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi solution deployed at Mall of Africa is a future-ready network that delivers increased device density and wireless monetization opportunities for retailers. The technology provides maximum signal coverage, throughput and network capacity in a high-density area.”.

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