Vukile Property Fund, the JSE-listed retail focused real estate investment trust (Reit) has completed its upgrade of Daveyton Mall, located in the Ekhurhuleni metro, east of Johannesburg, bringing a mix of leisure activities and shopping stores to the vibrant community there.
Vukile, which owns a portfolio of properties in South Africa and has exposure to Spanish retail centres, has recognised the value of investing in South Africa’s township economy. The listed real estate investment trust (Reit) has invested R90m to extend and upgrade Daveyton Mall.
The mall was opened in 1993 as one of the early malls built in one of South Africa’s townships in the wake of Apartheid.
Vukile CEO Laurence Rapp says that nearly 30 years on, the mall has received its long overdue colourful makeover.
“Shoppers can look forward to a beautifully upgraded mall which is on par with other contemporary retail centres in South Africa,” says Rapp.
The mall relaunched on 27 April 2022 after a year-long construction project. Right from the start of the redevelopment, the Daveyton community was engaged in the intent and extent of the mall’s revamp to ensure their vital input for the project, according to Rapp.
A community liaison officer was appointed as the first point of contact for local construction small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) and labourers. As a result, 13 local SMMEs were subcontracted, and 43 local labourers employed on the project.
Rapp said that, reflecting its importance as a hub within the community, especially considering the adjacent taxi rank, the redevelopment has ensured that the colour and vibrance of Daveyton is reflected by the mall.
Daveyton Mall’s new entrances have been built into tall, colourful and welcoming beacons that stand out on the local landscape.
The mall also chose murals and installations for its interior design from more than 50 artworks submitted by local talent.
“This artwork will be on permanent display, fostering a sense of pride and signalling that the mall isn’t only situated in Daveyton but is part of Daveyton. The internal passages have also been brightened with skylights and higher bulkheads and shopfronts, and glossy tiles,” says Rapp.
Daveyton is a strong-performing asset for Vukile, as it serves many shoppers who rely on staple purchases. These are people who don’t default on their rent and regularly pay foodstuffs and clothes.
“We have improved the shopping variety by introducing more apparel from famous national brands and a brand-new food court including a welcoming common sitting area with more fast-food offerings. Keeping the tenant mix relevant, appealing and exciting will remain an ongoing exercise,” says Itumeleng Mothibeli, MD SA at Vukile.
Vukile has introduced Truworths, Identity, and Footgear to Daveyton’s fashion line-up and Pedros Chicken, Chicken Xpress and Romans Pizza to its fast-food menu. These brands join an retail mix led by the mall’s original anchor tenant, Pick ‘n Pay, including OBC Chicken, Mr Price, Pep, Jet and various national and local brands, including Ackermans, Clicks, Sportscene, KFC and Debonairs.
The Daveyton Mall redevelopment has enabled it to offer free in-centre Wi-Fi for customers.
The new mall is also more eco-friendly. With biodiversity and water savings in mind, as well as creating a beautiful environment, nearly 100 indigenous, water-wise trees will provide shade in the parking areas, a giant green leap forward from the previous count of three trees. The largest of these original trees was kept, as were most of the existing gardens containing wild irises.
Mothibeli says the mall uses energy-saving LEDs. It also uses security surveillance and CCTV monitoring at night.
“The successful delivery of the new Daveyton Mall is thanks to the support of the Daveyton community, the new design by VDO Architects’ which heroes the local culture and colour, and the contractor, Radon Projects, which ensured a safe site where opportunities were given to local contractors and workers. We are extremely pleased with outcome of this collaboration and honoured to take this legacy mall into the future with the community of Daveyton,” says Mothibeli.