In another coup for the Port Elizabeth central business district (CBD), four national heavyweight retailers and financial giant, Old Mutual, will soon start trading from the Pier 14 shopping centre in North End.
The ongoing expansion and upgrade of the centre, believed to be costing owners Cobrole (Pty) Ltd in excess of R40-million, has to date rendered an additional 8 000m² to the original floor space of 26 000m². The final phase is set to add another 6 000m², which will bring the total to 40 000m² on completion.
According to centre manager, Sophia Steyn, the expansion of the centre supports the metro’s strategy to upgrade the CBD. “The expansion is already paying dividends, which is apparent in the influx of new national tenants.
“DFX, Shoe City and PEP Home start trading from the end of this week, while Ideals Clothing will be opening its doors at the end of October.”
In addition, she says, Old Mutual’s regional sales office will shortly occupy the entire seventh floor of the office tower.
Old Mutual regional manager, Nkqubela Qata, says their move to Pier 14 is indicative of the fact that they (Old Mutual) have confidence in the ongoing urban upliftment. “Old Mutual is an established and respected institution and if we show we believe in urban development actions, other companies will probably follow suit.”
Qata says the centre’s upgrade and expansion played a huge role in their decision to move their regional sales office to Pier 14.
Steyn says although the upgrade is taking place on the eve of the Soccer World Cup, the centre’s vision goes far beyond capitalising on its financial spin-offs.
“The Soccer World Cup will undoubtedly give the area a welcome financial injection, but we need to look beyond 2010. Our aim is to set the standard for a world-class shopping experience for many years to come.”
National project manager for PEP Home, Marius Koch, says this will be their second PEP Home store in the Port Elizabeth area.
“We are very excited about retailing from the new premises at Pier 14. Its opening forms part of the Pepcor group’s larger strategy for the Eastern Cape region.”
DFX regional manager, Pieter Pienaar, says they identified Pier 14 as landlord for their newest store for its location as well as the current upgrade.
“We have other stores in PE, but identified a need to serve customers in the CBD and Pier 14 provides the perfect platform for us to reach our target market.”
Mandela Bay Development Agency CEO, Pierre Voges, says the CBD upliftment strategy’s main objective is to restore investor confidence in the area.
“Once all phases are complete, we would have achieved a collective upgrading of the CBD – not only incorporating infrastructure, but also aesthetics, security and services.”
He says stimulation of investor interest is already visible in many of the earmarked areas and that the expansion of Pier 14 is a good example of the private sector regaining confidence in the district.
The agency’s longer term plans include development of the southern part of the harbour as well as the demolition of Telkom Park and redevelopment of the land once the new soccer stadium reaches completion in April next year.
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