Liberty Mall expansion set to begin next year

2013-10-25 00:00

THE multi-million rand Liberty Midlands Mall expansion phase is set to begin early next year, Msunduzi Municipality’s acting manager said this week.

Dr Ray Ngcobo, also the deputy municipal manager for economic development, said the issues that had stalled the development, including legal challenges, had now been resolved.

“This is one of the biggest investments in the city, which will cost R500 million,” said Ngcobo.

Rumours abounded that the development had stalled following almost two years of inactivity at the Chasedene site where the expansion will take place. Houses on the site are yet to be demolished to make way for the development.

Chasedene residents complained that the vacant houses were an eyesore, devalued their properties and attracted delinquent youths.

They said that this year the developers — who previously communicated with them efficiently — had not given any update on the development.

A resident said, “We heard the developers had grown frustrated with the constant delays and had decided to move on and invest their money elsewhere, like Johannesburg.”

Local councillor David Ryder said, “I have heard such rumours [that the development is no longer happening] but I have not heard anything officially.

“I do not think the developers will pull out now; they have already invested too much,” he said.

Dr Ngcobo said the project was steaming ahead.

“There was a court case which led to the delays, but they have approved the plans and they will continue with the development early next year.”

He said the developers would first finish demolishing the houses they had started demolishing before the court case: “We have met with their lawyers to agree on the process and will be signing the service level agreement within two weeks.”

Liberty Midlands Mall centre manager Umi Khan was noncommittal when asked about the development.

“The Liberty Midlands Mall expects to be in the position to publicly announce the landlord’s plans for the vacant land adjacent to the mall in the very near future …” was all Khan said a statement.

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