The sound of construction is apparent at Lifestyle Centre, evidence that building is underway for the exciting new offering unveiled by Bruce Rencken a few weeks ago.
A number of national tenants, the majority being fashion retailers, vacated the Ballito Lifestyle Centre last month. Empty shops are now being prepared for the big brands that will be opening their doors at Lifestyle Centre in September this year: Dischem (1 600m2), Baby City (1 100m2), Sportsmans Warehouse (1 400m2) and Toy Zone (800m2). “These 4 big brands are closely aligned to our vision of providing everyday convenience and simplicity of shopping, and celebrating family and life the Ballito way,” says Rencken. He has also revealed that deals have been concluded with more new offerings, being Chateau Gateaux, Cook-In, Melissas The Food Shop, Harbour Bay, White Summer, and Greek, Mexican and Italian restaurants Mythos, Salsa and Lupa respectively, while more will be unveiled soon.
Although one gets the impression that many stores have closed at Lifestyle Centre, more than 70% of the tenant base remains, including key anchor tenants Lifestyle SUPERSPAR, Woolworths Foodmarket, Lifestyle TOPS @ SPAR, BBS Mica Home and Garden Centre and East Coast Pharmacy.
Construction of new lifts and stairs from the underground parking, which began in November last year, is nearing completion and Rencken says that customers can look forward to much easier access to shops from this location. From the beginning of June, work will also begin on a high level roof covering over this area which will help to negate the effect of rain and wind. Says Rencken, “As much as we pride ourselves on our ‘outdoor’ shopping experience, we know that the elements can be a challenge at times so we are constructing a high level roof over the new stairs and lifts from the underground parking and creating a covered walkway to allow for a more pleasant shopping experience during rainy or windy weather, while still ensuring that the natural light and outdoor ambiance is maintained.”
At this time, Home Etc., Origins, Cranberries and Splush will all relocate within the centre, and work will begin on the new family fine-dining node, which will offer a choice of niche restaurants in a cosmopolitan, open air environment. As Rencken puts it: “We will be creating a street scene setting with stunning architecture, attractive landscaping and hardscaping, outdoor seating and beautiful lighting, all topped with great food and superb service. It will be a celebration of life the Ballito way – the place where people meet, the place where families connect.”
And while all of this is on the go, a permanent food market will be taking shape in the area opposite Mica, running all the way down to Zaras, that was previously occupied by Mr Price clothing, Totalsports and Identity. Taking up 1600 m2 of retail space, the focus will be on quality artisanal food and everyday freshness. Anchor tenants in this space will be an artisanal bakery, coffee roastery, craft brewery, free range butchery and organic fresh produce outlet, amongst others.
Timelines are tight, and building works significant, with the new stairwell and lifts from the underground parking due for completion by the end of this month, the deadline for the high level roof covering and flooring works along with the launch of Dischem, Sportmans Warehouse, Baby City and ToyZone being 1 September, and the completion of the restaurant node and artisanal food market due by October 2017. “The impact on Ballito Lifestyle Centre will be significant over the next 6 months,” said Rencken, “but our customers’ shopping experience is paramount and we will make every effort to preserve this. It is certainly very exciting to have kicked off the project and to have started implementing months of planning.”