Council approves large shopping mall in downtown CBD

2010-09-29 00:00

THE site of a proposed shopping centre commonly known as Brookside, which encompasses a portion of Pietermaritzburg’s downtown CBD, is finally set for development.

The Witness has learnt that the massive property has been acquired by the giant Shoprite Group.

A Shoprite spokesperson told The Witness that the Brookside site in Pietermaritzburg has been earmarked for a shopping centre, anchored by a Checkers Hyper.

Transfer of the property was completed earlier this month.

The site has long been coveted by developers.

Pietermaritzburg property developer Andrew Barnes of Barnes Properties told The Witness that he bought the site from the Akoo family about five years ago.

Barnes said he has spent the past few years sorting out a variety of environmental issues to ensure that the site can be developed.

The site is located on land that runs from the eastern part of Church Street to Manning Road, between the Dorpspruit and the N3 freeway.

Barnes said he has received “fantastic co-operation” from the SA National Roads Agency Limited and the Msunduzi Municipality with regard to achieving the right kind of road access to the site.

He praised the work done by various municipal officials, including Sibulele Diko, manager for transportation planning and Llewellyn Muller of building survey.

Shoprite said, “At present, the vision for the site is to develop a shopping centre anchored by a new generation Checkers Hyper.

“Planning for the development is, however, still in the early stages and the group will only be in a position to provide more detailed information further along in the process.”

Barnes said that they had building plans approved for 2  0000 square-metres of shopping centre development.

He said he believes that the site may be developed as a lifestyle value centre.

He added that the city possesses a lucrative grocery shopping market, bringing in an estimated R1,5 billion in sales per year.

He noted that the centre will be located in a prime site, adding that businesses in the lower CBD — most of whom have traded for decades — enjoy a healthy level of trading.

PIETERMARITZBURG property developer Andrew Barnes of Barnes Properties bought the site from the Akoo family about five years ago. He said Stocks & Stocks planned to build a centre in the mid 1990s after buying the site from the Akoo family, but the deal fell through. The site encompasses the old flats — demolished in 2007 after police, fire and city officials raided them two years earlier, warning that “human life was at risk in the filthy, structurally unsound building”.

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