Moolman Group has successfully opened three developments – two new shopping centres and one retail redevelopment – in two days. Hebron Mall in the North West province, and Matsamo Mall in Buffelspruit and Merino Mall in Ermelo, both in Mpumalanga, opened successfully last week. In addition to introducing valuable retail infrastructure in exceptional environments that serve tenants and consumers, each project also created jobs and numerous socio-economic opportunities for their communities.
“Today’s consumer expects a mall to offer more than just convenience, and we are proud to address these needs by developing shopping centres that change how people move and live. All three developments are in burgeoning regions with an undersupply of retail facilities. Each development is the result of extraordinary perseverance and rewarding partnerships bringing a shared vision to life,” says Moolman Group CEO, Pieter Lombaard.
The achievement of launching three malls in two days was possible due to the Moolman Groups’ good relationships with a wide range of partners, including Abland at Merino Mall and Twin City at Hebron Mall.
The most important partnership in each development, however, is the community in which it is located.
The project teams worked closely with community leaders to enable local contractors, workers and businesses the opportunity to get involved. Making a meaningful contribution to the local economy on an ongoing basis as part of the development process, all three malls offered online jobs portals where local job seekers could register, and their applications were made available to the centres’ retailers. The portal was also used to employ within the centre management teams and created a platform for service providers to tender for various contractual opportunities in and around the centres – further boosting the local economies.
“We are extremely proud to add these developments to our portfolio,” says Moolman Group Development Director, Pieter Beyers.
• Matsamo Mall
The first of the three malls to open was Matsamo Mall on 26 October 2022. The redevelopment and expansion of Matsamo Plaza responded to the growing retail demand from residents of Buffelspruit and surrounds by adding a further 10 512m2 of trading volume to create the 18 500m2 Matsamo Mall – cementing its position as a central retail hub for local customers.
The mall’s 33 stores have enhanced the current retail offering of the Schoemansdal district. Its interior art installations speak to the local culture and acknowledge proud traditions and passions. The mall is also ideally positioned to serve residents of neighbouring countries, Swaziland and Mozambique, with anchor stores Shoprite, Roots, Clicks, Cashbuild and Boxer.
• Merino Mall
The 28 600m2 Merino Mall opened its doors to the public on 27 October 2022 to become the only shopping centre of its significant size within a 100km radius. The mall features 90 stores, 1,743 parking bays, an impressive fashion node, banking facilities, restaurants and a fun kids’ play area. Anchors include Checkers, Pick n Pay, Woolworths and Clicks, as well as the first Crazy Plastics and Dis-Chem in the area.
Built on the historic Ermelo showgrounds, the mall pays tribute to the site’s heritage, a place that has always been central to community life in the area. The original barn structures are a key design feature of the building, while local artwork adorning the walls ensure that the community is woven into its fibre.
While the architecture and design features pay tribute to the site’s history, it incorporates answers to today’s big environmental and social challenges. Merino Mall has its own solar photovoltaic [PV] plant that produces green energy and the mall can trade during loadshedding. The property even has a sewer treatment plant that will recycle grey water back into the building to achieve water savings. The mall also has a fast fibre Wi-Fi network, which shoppers can access.
All this combines to make a meaningful contribution to the community, and manage Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) factors. Investors are increasingly applying these non-financial factors as part of their analysis process to identify growth opportunities.
• Hebron Mall
The third Moolman Group mall to open is the 22 000m2 Hebron Mall, which became a welcome addition to the retail offering in the area between Soshanguve and Ga-Rankuwa on 27 October.
With 90 new stores, a family entertainment area and food court, free Wi-Fi, and more than 900 parking bays, Hebron Mall is anchored by Shoprite, Boxer (which celebrated the opening of its 400th store at Hebron Mall), and Westpack Lifestyle.
Through this development, Twin City and Moolman Group have also invested in local community upliftment by building a new nursery school for Mama Rose, who has been teaching pre-schoolers in Hebron for almost 20 years.
Launching three shopping centres within the span of two days is no easy feat. However, Moolman Group has demonstrated that it is certainly possible when you have the right team.
“It is a tremendous achievement and one that everybody can be very proud of. Each project is a testament to Moolman Group’s core values of integrity, financial prudence, competence, passion and caring,” says Lombaard.