Property Flash


Rosebank Mall, the shopping centre is thriving post-Covid-19. Property Flash recently interviewed Rubecca Khan, retail asset manager at Hyprop Investments.

“We have brought the vacancy rate at Rosebank Mall down from 12% to 2.5%. People have been loyal to what is a reliable and loved shopping centre. It has become more than a mall. It is the heart of the Rosebank node,” said Rubecca Khan in an interview with Property Flash.

Rosebank as a live, work and play node, has attracted hundreds of millions of Rand in investment and development over the few years as it morphed into a business and residential node.

It is now one of the most cosmopolitan mixed-use suburbs in SA and attracts young professionals and families.

Two-and-a-half years ago its vacancy was 12% and in 2021 its vacancy sat at 5%. As said, by the end of August 2022, its vacancy was 2.5% which was represented by 1800m2 of space.

There were numerous tenant moves during the past year. Vida E Café moved with retailer Exclusive Books and Hi-Fi Corp took over the vacant Exclusive Books space. Truworths right-sized its store while clothing group Cotton On and retailer Exclusive Books relocated within the mall. Mr Price Home expanded. Total Sports is set to receive a new look and feel while fashion group Fabiani is taking back previously mothballed space. Coffee and pastries group, Casa das Natas has also opened while Republik moved from The Zone.

The mall is also often used as an incubation hub for new ideas in retail. One of these is the SOKO District which launched in mid 2021. This retail space includes small specialised shops and service providers. The SOKO District works differently from the likes of WeAreEgg, because all the stores within the district are individually owned and run, simply operating within a leased space. These retailers, therefore, remain custodians of their own brands. Many of them previously operated online only and have since taken up physical space for the first time at the SOKO District.

“SOKO is one year old and I feel that since the initial uptake was very slow, it needs to be re-positioned. It has a very mixed offering of brands and I think these were well-marketed. SOKO which has around 22 operators. It only provides space to local brands as it looks to champion locals and just needs to be positioned to the appropriate customer,” Khan said.

The African Market has also recovered well at Rosebank Mall, she said.

Khan has been in her role for a year. She explained to Property Flash that Hyprop’s Rosebank Mall works in union with Old Mutual’s The Zone @ Rosebank and Investec Property Fund’s The Firs.

“All of these assets complement the node and it’s important that we all do well. Hyprop has worked hard and strategically to make Rosebank Mall into such an exciting location. We have enhanced the mall’s offering, improving on fashion and convenience, including our food offering. Rosebank Mall does not focus on sit down restaurants like the other retail centres around it do. Its convenience food offering is more important,” said Khan.

Other enhancements included Uber lanes and changing the infrastructure around the mall to make it easier for pedestrians to navigate the centre. This also created better foot traffic.

There have been concerns about safety and security in Rosebank. Khan said the Rosebank District Management, which is in charge of safety and security, had hired new services and that strategic managerial moves were making the suburb a lot safer.

Hyprop’s buildings were not affected by the Durban riots in July 2021.

While Rosebank Mall is not a traditional destination centre, it is also starting to attract a larger number of people who live up to 15km away.

Khan said that Rosebank Mall’s foot count was up 20% in 2022 against 2021, indicating that people trusted the shopping centre and remained loyal to it post the 2020 and 2021 economic lockdowns which were imposed in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The mall is reliable with an Uber drop-off area in bath Avenue, reliable WiFi as well as no electricity downtime during load shedding.

Khan said the outlook for Rosebank Mall and the greater node was very positive.

“Tenants are keen to improve their stores. We are seeing events return to Rosebank and we are excited about the festive season where we will implement extended trading

Khan said Rosebank Mall had come a long way since it operated as a thoroughfare a few years ago. It is now a cosmopolitan shopping centre which acts as a destination for the “hip and happening”.

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