The R420 million revamp and expansion of Vaal Mall, in Vanderbijlpark is well underway and will see it increase in size to 65,000sqm. This will ensure it remains the preferred and dominant regional shopping centre destination in the greater Vaal area.

Vaal Mall has been the premier shopping destination in the Vaal Triangle since opening nine years ago and is co-owned by a company within the Flanagan & Gerard Property Group and Sycom Property Fund. Now the mall is getting a timely makeover and is expanding by 15,000sqm, which will see a new Ster Kinekor cinema complex added to the mix, new stores, eateries, the expansion of several existing big brand stores and a new 3 level structure parking.

Construction on the much-anticipated makeover and expansion project began in September 2014, with the first phase complete at the end of April 2015. The second phase of construction – which will see a 15,000sqm retail expansion – started at the end of March and the overall makeover is scheduled to be complete in March 2016.

Paul Gerard, Managing Director of Flanagan & Gerard comments: “Exceptional demand for retail space, largely driven by existing retailers wanting to bring their very high trading densities to a more manageable level, is the main factor behind Vaal Mall’s expansion. We also wish to bring in retailers that are not yet represented in the region to the mall.”

He adds: “We are bolstering the entertainment component of the mall with the introduction of a new Ster Kinekor cinema complex, which will attract more visitors and lengthen shopper dwell time. This will no doubt result in better performance for all retailers within the mall.”

David Falck of Sycom Property Fund, says: “The R420 million investment in Vaal Mall will also include an upgrade to the existing mall, ensuring a fresh and modern look and feel throughout the centre. As a flagship retail asset, this expansion is well-timed to ensure  Vaal Mall retains its dominant position in the market.”

Comments Jonathan Shutte of Flanagan & Gerard: “Construction has gone according to plan, with the first phase having opened at the end of April. Phase 1 of Vaal Mall’s overhaul includes the new 3 level structured parking area, the extension of Entrance 1 for the expansion of Dis-Chem and a new Sheet Street and Cash Crusaders and expansion of Toys R Us/Babies R Us.”

He adds: “The core development, which is the 15,000sqm retail expansion, is now underway. A seven screen Ster Kinekor cinema complex is an exciting new addition, which will include a Ster Kinekor Prestige cinema, bringing the ultimate cinema experience to the Vaal.”

In addition to Dis-Chem’s expansion, other major existing tenants that will enlarge their footprint at the centre include Edgars, Woolworths, Truworths and The Foschini Group. Brands making their debut at Vaal Mall include Mr Price Sport, Ster Kinekor as well as new restaurants and entertainment, which are under wraps for now.

The expanded stores and new additions to the retail mix will provide shoppers with even greater choice. With so many national retailers jumping at the chance to expand, Vaal Mall can be selective with new tenants and amplify its retail mix. The makeover and expansion will see the number of retail and other outlets at the centre increase to more than 140.

Besides greater shopping variety and an upgraded mall to look forward to, customers will also enjoy the convenience of a covered mezzanine parking level as well as rooftop parking for direct access to the cinemas, restaurants and entertainment. Landscaping includes beautiful greenery covering part of the structured parking, to soften the atmosphere and bring a comforting feeling when passing by or entering the mall.

Design enhancements include makeovers of existing entrances and new “porte cocheres” at the mall’s existing and new entrances, aimed at creating a more vibrant atmosphere. The existing mall will undergo an upgrade with new tiles, lighting and a paint job as well as additional restroom facilities.

More than 270 construction workers are involved in the project, of which a sizable portion is from the local community. More than 180,000 bricks have been laid to date and 4263 cubic metres of concrete poured as part of construction. Giuricich Bros Construction is the contractor on the project.

Since opening its doors in 2006, Vaal Mall has recorded a strong financial performance, solid trading densities and a foot-count of nearly 10 million shoppers a year. Its growth underpinned the decision to expand the shopping centre.