Mall of the North in Polokwane, Limpopo, has been awarded the SAPOA’s (SA Property Owners Association) Innovative Excellence Award in Retail Property Development.
The award was announced late yesterday at the 44th annual SAPOA International Property Convention & Exhibition at the Durban International Convention Centre. The awards are sponsored by Nedbank Corporate Property Finance.
The super-regional Mall of the North, which opened in April 2011, is jointly owned and developed by JSE-listed Resilient Property Income Fund, Flanagan & Gerard Property Development & Investment, and Moolman Group.
The 75,000sqm shopping centre, on a 27ha site, was designed by MDS Architecture with strong reference to its context in Polokwane. Its contemporary design blends with the surrounding landscape, inspired by the surrounding forests and mountains.
“Mall of the North is an enormous project. The co-owners and professional team can be immensely proud of their achievement of creating this prize-winning asset,” says Johann Kriek of Resilient Property Income Fund.
The SAPOA Innovative Excellence in Property Development Awards encourage a built environment that works on all levels. It considers more than architectural appeal. It evaluates a development’s economic viability, how it satisfies needs of its investor and its user, aesthetics, and general positive impact on its surrounds.
Kriek notes that perhaps the most significant measure of Mall of the North’s development success and design innovation is its positive retail performance. Only one year into trading, it has gone from strength to strength.
“Mall of the North has quickly become central to the shopping habits of Polokwane and its regional communities’,” says Kriek. “Retailer turnovers essentially doubled across the board during December 2011”.
Underpinning its performance is its exceptional retail mix of 180 shops with anchor retailers including Pick n Pay, Checkers, Edgars, Woolworths and Game, as well as a Ster-Kinekor cinema complex.
But design also plays a major role in the mall’s shopping success.
Setting the scene for a pleasing shopping experience, Pierre Lahaye of MDS Architecture explains the interior spaces are permeable, and encourage discovery around curves. “Curves were a key design element, enticing shoppers to discover the building and its retailers.”
Light is vital in Mall of the North’s design. It creates a fresh, warm and inviting shopping ambience. It also provides energy efficiency, which equates to cost efficiency.
“This is paramount in an economy of soaring costs – electricity, water, rates and taxes. Cost increases are challenging all property owners in SA. An energy efficient shopping centre reduces consumption and costs. It benefits the mall its retailers,” says Kriek.
There’s little need for artificial lighting at Mall of the North during the day.
The building’s design helps to reduce the use of cooling and heating the building. It also has a sophisticated central network that evaluates energy use throughout the building. In addition, the mall is water-wise, including indigenous plants.
It economic impact on its regional community has been vast. The mall now provides employment for around 2,000 people, with roughly 1,800 permanent jobs and about 200 temporary positions.
Neil Gopal, CEO of SAPOA says: “The award winners showcase excellence in design and innovation. They reflect the constant evolution needed to meet today’s challenges and tomorrow’s needs, in SA and globally”.
Images courtesy of MDS Architecture. Mall of the North in Polokwane.