DURBAN – Cornubia Shopping Mall, a new retail development located in the north coastal corridor of Durban, is on track to open its doors in September next year. The R1.8 billion mall is one of Investec Property latest development, rising from the old cane fields alongside the M41 at Flanders Road.
With one eye on the staff in the Cornubia Town Centre and another on the neighbouring residential areas – Mount Edgecombe to the south west, Phoenix to the west and the Cornubia residential precinct to the north – the Cornubia Shopping Mall first phase of 65,999m2 is set to provide a retail solution for all needs.
Although mixed use, the major portion of the Cornubia development will be residential, with 25,000 housing units being developed.
Cornubia is a national pilot project of the Breaking New Ground policy launched in 2008. Construction began in March 2016 and the mall is roughly half the size of the Gateway Theatre of Shopping, boasting two supermarkets and 1,630 on-grade parking bays and 1,608 basement.
The mall is located near the Umhlanga/Mount Edgecombe interchange and is adjacent to the Cornubia Town Centre. “This forms part of a holistic spatial development,” explains Karen Petersen, Development Director of Tongaat Hulett Developments, which has made the land available for the project. “The shopping centre is one of the key amenities that will be provided to the 1,200 hectare mixed-use development which stretches from Umhlanga towards the King Shaka Airport.
Investec Property Joint Head Darryl Mayers says the centre is 80% let, with key national retailers as anchor tenants. “We are delighted to be able to announce that the major food retailers Checkers, Pick ‘n Pay and Woolworths will have a presence in the centre as well as key clothing retailers, including Edgars and Truworths,” said Mayers.
Other tenants include Virgin Active Gym, Cycle Lab, Bounce, Nu Metro, Outdoor Warehouse, Dis-Chem, Clicks and Bakos Brothers. “At the centre’s heart, there will be an open air ‘town square’, comprising al-fresco style restaurants, tapas bars, coffee houses and fast food outlets as well as double-level concept stores. In addition, the mall will offer a mix of fashion, lifestyle and sports outlets, all integrated into an outdoor, family-orientated shopping destination,” he said.
The on-going shopping mall developments and others that are still in the planning phase in South Africa, is increasingly driving concerns about an oversaturated retail property market despite consumer spending being in the doldrums.
The question, however, is whether SA can support another mall. Many consumers are cash strapped, and already SA has the sixth highest number of shopping centres in the world — almost 2,000 — and floor space covering 23m m².
“We do not see this as competing with Gateway,” adds Petersen. “We envisage the two centres being complementary to each other, creating a massive super-node between them. In the same way, we see the Umhlanga Town Centre and the Cornubia Town Centre as having a paired utility. Access between the two will be greatly enhanced by the bridge currently under construction over the N2 linking Cornubia Boulevard with Umhlanga Ridge Boulevard and forming part of the Go!Durban integrated rapid public transport network.” The importance of Cornubia can be summed up in the words of Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu when visiting Durban in 2015: “This project is very close to my heart, it demonstrates what we as a nation can achieve when we partner with business and investors.”