Big change at South Africa’s largest shopping mall

Fourways Mall has announced a new taxi holding area to alleviate road congestion and offer commuters quick and safe access.

The change forms part of a comprehensive plan to improve Fourways Mall’s performance and attract new shoppers and tenants.

Fourways Mall appointed Flanagan & Gerard as the mall’s strategic asset manager and The Moolman Group to have oversight of property management.

Paul Gerard, MD of Flanagan & Gerard, said their initial emphasis is on creating a seamless, secure, and enjoyable environment for all our visitors and tenants.

Patrick Flanagan, non-executive co-chairman and co-founder at Flanagan & Gerard, said their objective is to revitalise the Fourways Mall brand.

They want to ensure that Fourways Mall is top of mind as the best shopping destination for those who reside in our primary and secondary trade areas.

The plan includes improved signage, introducing new tenants, deploying full backup power, enhanced parking area lighting, and upgraded security measures.

They also want to optimise traffic flow, make parking bays bigger, and revitalise the mall’s surrounding area.

They said they will pay special attention to taxi services, hawkers, landscaping, and traffic light systems.

Fourways Mall has now expanded its commuter court, which forms part of the revitalisation project.

This improvement is aimed at managing traffic flow inside and outside the Fourways Mall, which has been problematic.

The underground commuter court was built as part of the expansion project that opened in September 2019. It is located on the basement level, under Pick n Pay.

This transportation hub has now been expanded with an additional taxi holding area, providing a comfortable and convenient environment for taxi drivers and passengers.

It offers two direct access points into the mall, the inclusion of a safe walkway between the taxi rank and drivers’ holding area, and added speed bumps in the area.

The commuter court includes retail offerings, Roots Butchery and Restaurant, Real Fish and Chips and Arthur Ford.

“The secure and convenient movement of our consumers in and out of the mall is paramount to us,” says Paul Gerard, managing director of Flanagan and Gerard.

This taxi hub provides taxi associations with their own designated lanes, ensuring commuters’ ease of use when selecting the route for their final destination.

The taxis follow a systematic filtering process: filter in, fill up, and move out. Fourways Mall said it maintains strong relations with the taxi associations and works closely with the on-the-ground marshals.

“Putting the transportation hub underground allows us to operate a controlled space and provide shelter from environmental elements for our customers,” Gerard said.

Fourways Mall struggling

The latest change comes amidst significant challenges for Fourways Mall, which has experienced a significant financial decline.

Fourways Mall is the largest shopping centre in South Africa, with a gross lettable area (GLA) of 178,000 square meters and 350 stores.

However, despite its excellent location and track record, the mall is not performing as well as many hoped following its big revamp, completed in September 2019.

Daily Investor analysed Fourways Mall’s financials since its relaunch in 2019, which revealed a troubling situation for its owner, Accelerate Property Fund.

This analysis showed a decline in the mall’s net rent per square meter, a high vacancy rate, and a big drop in fair value.

The 2019 expansion increased the mall’s GLA from 61,634 square meters to 88,785 square meters.

However, much of this additional space is empty because of the mall’s low occupancy rate and a lack of interest from big brands.

The mall’s net rent per square meter has declined from R298 in 2020 to R262 in 2023. With increased costs, this is a poor situation for any landlord.

Fourways Mall’s fair value declined from R4.8 billion in 2020 to R4.02 billion three years later. Considering the high inflation in recent years, it is a blow to the Accelerate Property Fund.

The high cost of Fourways Mall’s expansion and revamp and its subsequent poor performance have affected Accelerate’s share price.

The company’s share has declined by over 80% since 2019, which shows investors’ scepticism about the company and its assets.


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