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A look at the massive R5 billion mall being built in Joburg

A look at the massive R5 billion mall being built in Joburg

The Mall of Africa, the new development located in the Waterfall Estate between Midrand and Sandton is set to become one of the largest shopping malls on the African continent.

The mall, located off the N1 highway in Midrand, is set to finish construction at the end of April 2016.

While the development occupies the biggest space for any mall on the African continent (485,000 square metres), the shopping space itself is “only” 131,000 squares – which is smaller than the 220,000 square metre Gateway Shopping Centre in Durban –  the largest mall in Africa.

According to developers, Atterbury Property Group, the new complex is South Africa’s and Africa’s biggest single-phase shopping mall ever built – larger than Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront and rival to Sandton City.

The new site will boast over 300 shops, and will play host to a plethora of local and international brands. It will have over 7,000 parking bays.

H&M, Zara, Hamleys, Cotton On and Forever 21 are among international brands opening flagship stores, Attebury said, while anchor tenants include Edcon, Woolworths, Game and Checkers Hyper.

The mall initially carried a development cost of around R3.2 billion, but is now estimated to be closer to R5 billion.

According to the developers, it will serve as the hub of the 323ha Waterfall development project, which is estimated to be carrying a cost of R71 billion to complete, with 11 more years of development still to go.

The Waterfall development is expected to expand over the next 10 to 15 years to become around the same size as Sandton, and bigger than the Joburg inner CBD.


Mall-of-Africa-overall Mall-of-Africa-Overall-Day2 mall of africa inside Mall-of-Africa-NorthEast-Close


Mall of Africa construction October 2015 Mall of Africa construction August 2015 Mall of Africa construction October 2015 2 Mall of Africa construction October 2015 3

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BusinessTech's Staff Writer is directly plugged into the South African Internet backbone, and spits out press releases and other news as they receive it. They are believed to be cl...
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  • kid black

    Hopefully they have a large vegetation and water budget in order for the drawings to match reality.

  • Johan Lewis Last

    **sobbing….**. I not have money, shopping center stay empty.

    With all these shopping centers popping up all over the place, one would think we are the richest country….booohahaha

    • Progressive Pariah

      We, ironically, have the sixth most Malls in the world.

      • Mamparra


  • Joe Boy

    Gateway smashes all other malls to pieces

    • mccdyl001

      Clocks in at only 59% the size of Gateway (in terms of shopping space). I’d hesitate to call this new one “massive” – its roughly the same size as the Pavillion.

      • Joe Soap


      • Joe Boy

        Pretty much. This Mall of Africa has been quite hyped since it’s inception. No matter how many malls in jhb. I still prefer pav and gateway.

  • Veldmeisie

    I prefer veld to shops. 🙁

    • GrimmyGrimReaper

      there use to be a nice little natural dam there once upon a time

      • Veldmeisie

        I know. I watched it being demolished, for the Allandale offramp. Very sad!

      • S S

        They’ve paved paradise and put up a parking lot.

  • Literally Mario

    200 of those 300 shops are going to be clothing shops. Mark my words.

    • Literally Luigi

      and the other 100 are going to be in the food court

      • Literally Mario

        I agree… brother.

    • Albert Stemmett

      With the unpayable rentals I would say that most of those 200 you mention will be CLOSING shops after 6 months.

  • Progressive Pariah

    All of those international brands named already have huge stores in the Waterfront and Canal Walk. Lol

    • AgentB

      Which are not in the Waterfall area…

  • Charl van der Merwe

    ugh, really ? another shopping mall. Yea cause we were really running low on shopping malls….I will never understand why people love malls so much.

    • Albert Stemmett

      Charl, Peabrained people are unreadable in this country. I personally ( along with many of my friends in Cape Town) absoloutely detest and avoid like the plague Tygervalley Centre and Canal Walk. Far to big for comfortable shopping where you have to walk miles from one end to the other. Now, If like Cresta was 20 years ago, You had a little hop on hop off Shuttle train running inside the mall from one end to the other especially for older folk it may make a difference. But in todays enviorenment it is also not funny parking your car among thousands and when you eventually locate it, find all your hubcaps missing –like happened to me even in a smaller centre like Bayside in Tableview. Whay about the cost? I have been in retailing and know that rentals are a killer for smaller individual shops. Just my pennies worth from experience (both sides of the counter).

      • LBS

        I fully agree. I much rather pop in to N1City, grab what I need and rush out again. I must be one of the few females hating shopping, LOL

      • Jo

        I don’t hang around in Malls, but have been to Canal Walk/Century City about half a dozen times over the past 5 years. And that place have at least 2 floors, maybe 3, and each floor has 2 walkways which are interlinked giving many shortcuts between shops. This makes distances between shops very short, and overall length also much shorter than smaller Malls such as Boksburg/East Rand and Somerset. Each of these 2 has a distance of more than 0,8km from one end to the other. The biggest shop (PnP) on one end, and all restaurants and movie theatres on the other end, with some shops sitting off the “main” passage way, making it even longer, and all single story. Canal Walk is the bigger of them, but the longest distance between shops is about 0,6km, with the movies and restaurants in the centre. Much more convenient than any other mall I have come across. Tyger Valley length is similar to Somerset, but also have 2 to 3 floors like Canal walk, but only one “main” walkway. And it has the busiest and most overcrowded walkways and shops, with East Rand second most crowded.
        Best one is Cape Gate. Also 2 floors mostly, but in the shape of a T or a cross with one short leg, which makes it a bit awkward and causes unnecessary long distances. Under cover parking is also difficult to negotiate.. Almost deserted during weekdays outside school holidays, you have all the walkways and shops for yourself!
        Apart from the overcrowdedness, I choose Canal Walk as the best layout for most shops and shortest distances in between.

      • Grové Erasmus

        I recently visited one of the generic shopping malls outside Pretoria, “Forrest Hill” next to the highway on the way to Krugersdorp. The whole mall built around easy access by car with parking space in the middle, the mall built around the parking spaces in a droplet shape. Parking was really cheap.

        Genereic shopping mall because all malls have the same brand shops and inside they look more or less the same.

        The only reason I went to Forrest Hill malls was because there is an ice rink, my daughter is crazy about ice skating. I prefer small shopping centers with independant shops, independant restaurants and café’s like at Lynnwood Bridge, Pretoria. Why go to the movies when one has uncapped ADSL, Showmax and Youtube.

  • Joe Soap

    When purchasing retail rubbish that you don’t need remember you are paying for it not with money but rather with the hours of your lives. This time could be better spent.

    • AdK

      Silly hipster.

      • Joe Soap

        Consumer drone

        • TheZenOfZen


        • Pick Me Coach

          And it’s up to you to decide how people should or should not spend their money and / or time?

          • Joe Soap

            Nope but when your kids grow up in front of the TV they are preprogrammed to be good little consumers. Look at Britain pre WW2. Do you know what the dustbin was for? Dust and ashes. This is why the modern plastic bins say “no hot ash”. This is a remnant of an earlier time where globally we’d reuse things and hardly threw anything away except the ash from last night’s fire. I’m going to borrow a few choice lyrics from Papa Roach: “There’s no money, there’s no possessions. Only obsession, I don’t need that $hit. Take my money, take my obsession” “Life-style and obsession. — “Diamond rings get you nothing but a life long lesson.And your pocket-book stressin’ “You’re a slave to the system, working jobs that you hate” — “Present yourself, press your clothes. Comb your hair and clock-in. You just can’t win” Enjoy the rat race Pick Me Coach.

          • Pick Me Coach

            Who says I take part in the rat race? But surely it’s my right to choose where and when I spend my money and my time?
            If you have no interest in reading about a shopping mall being developed, why even click on the link?

          • Joe Soap

            What else is there to do in JHB other than work and shop? “The things you own, own you now”.

          • Pick Me Coach

            Sure there is. There’s telling people how to live their lives for starters.

          • Joe Soap

            Nope, I get to go to the beach for free while you pay for parking at the new mall.

          • Pick Me Coach

            LOL, so you don’t even live in the city where they are developing the mall that you don’t care about? Talk about a constructive use of one’s time.

    • Telkom Sucks

      So edgy, but I agree. Don’t need half of that bullshit. When the need falls away, you live better.

      Its telling all the people who have wide open countrysides and fresh air and who feel rich that they live in poverty, when they don’t need anything.

      They should be like you and sit in 2 hour traffic every morning and afternoon and scream into your pillow when you get home as you don’t want to disturb the neighbours in the matchbox nextdoor, but you just have to get rid of the insane stress you’ve built up from this mad lifestyle.

  • Ray Mulder

    If only we could build schools and hospitals and power stations and housing for the poor as fast as we build shopping malls.

    • Chris

      The key difference? Private enterprise vs government owned businesses.

      • Jonathan Christen

        True story. I vote for government to be privatized. The whole government. But then again… Loads of corruption in big corporate South Africa (at least they’re profitable, i know)

    • Mucaine

      The landlords want MONEY. Schools, housing, etc. for the pool will not make them rich and is the responsibility of the government / the taxpayer.

  • CypherGate

    Who on earth has money to go shopping at this mall? I bet the rental is going to be crazy. The prices even worse. Opening such a mall in this time of SA’s financial crisis… GOOOOOOOD LUCK to them

    • chunk

      The people who dont want to go all the way to Sandton City

      • Wayne Kitching

        As someone who lives in Midrand, I agree with Chunk. There isn’t currently a full Woolworths in Midrand, or a hypermarket. Plus, with all of the upmarket houses and office buildings being built in Waterfall City, there will definitely be a market for this mall. Personally, I am looking forward to it, as it is only about 3 km from my house.

  • ThePhotoGuy

    A few questions;
    1- Who is paying for all of this?
    2- Why don’t you take that money and actually use it on something that’ll benefit the country in the long run, maybe a school you know *hint hint*
    3- Well you’re providing temporary employment to those who’ll be building this mall, what happens after construction is finished?
    4- Are we only looking to see this mall filled with clothing shops as the usual?

    • Francis Kong

      Find the teachers and then build the school around them….
      Can’t find enough good teachers? Well then it’s pointless building an amazing school.

      • ThePhotoGuy

        That will work too.
        Or better yet, use that cash to train some people interested in teaching… possibly health care specialists too.

        • Chris

          The mall isn’t built by government. It’s privately funded…

    • AgentB

      1. Private investors, shareholders of the companies involved
      2. “That money”? It’s not a government initiative, this
      3. Good question – ask “them”, ask them every time they’re constructing things
      4. Most likely yes… maybe shoe shops too. Just maaaaaaybe some homeware stores, etc lol. What a consumerism yawn.. but that’s how it goes.

    • Jo

      After construction, they create new jobs for those working inside the shops, which is normally a lot more than those used during construction.

      • ThePhotoGuy

        Correct me if I’m wrong, but most of those workers will probably be casual workers, on the wages received, I believe they’ll still be stranded and forced to continue seeking employment.
        I’ve recently heard that retail shops usually just transfer workers to new shops closer to their homes. I stand corrected.

        • Jo

          If by retail stores you mean Checkers, PnP, Woolworths etc., the transfer may be correct. What I have recently found out to my disgust, is that coloured workers are almost forced by both blacks and their employer, to resign just so that the store manager can replace them with blacks. Which is nothing but crude racism.
          We have asked 2 garden helpers and 3 household workers (all coloureds), why the shops in our Western Cape area, suddenly within a matter of a few months, do not have any coloured workers anymore, and all workers are now black. And the answer was the same: that circumstance were made so unbearable by blacks and shop managers, that they had no choice but to resign.
          Reasoning by shop managers and blacks was that blacks “should also get a chance” to work.
          I hate it, because the blacks all have these blank or frowning faces, and react and speak with a clear body language that says they are doing you a very big favour, on requesting help with something. They also cannot or will not understand Afrikaans. While the coloured people were always friendly and greeted one in Afrikaans, and were very helpful when you cannot find a specific item.

          • Mamparra

            Hell, Jo, that explains a lot of things. While I’m English speaking so it’s not a major issue, I can certainly vouch for the bad attitudes, but then, see where it comes from – watch that circus from Parliament yesterday and experience a so-called ‘Doctor’ (B*tthole Motshekga) talking the most confrontational rubbish out.

          • LindiweK

            hahahaha…your last paragraph was really funny, Jo, you reminded me of one Penny Sparrow & of a Trevor Noah joke at the same time. You must be 80 or something. What you said about anybody being “forced” to leave can’t be right though. They must contact their unions. I wonder what exactly was so “unbearable” that they had to leave…blacks speaking their language maybe?
            By the way, there’s 11 official languages in SA. Those “blacks” probably speak 4 or more languages that you also don’t understand. Why should they be crucified for not knowing Afrikaans? Is it more important than other SA languages?
            Blacks in Gauteng and other places will also tell you they have been almost entirely replaced by Zimbabweans, especially in the hospitality industry & in domestic work; Malawians & Mozambicans as garden help and as petrol attendants. You probably hire one of those too. Unemployment is as rife as ever with every “race” in SA, no protection for unskilled locals, even Chinese shops prefer non-SA blacks!
            Yes, a lot of these people can be very unfriendly, but we don’t know their circumstances (no excuse I know). Just go to Chinese Malls if you really wanna see unfriendly service though!

    • Charl van der Merwe

      isn’t this whole waterfall/mall of africa en-devour very chinese investment heavy ?

  • My_opinion247

    Shopping center developers and pension funds better hope and pray ecommerce / mcommerce never takes off in SA

    • Chris

      I don’t understand anybody buying clothing over the net.

      • Albert Stemmett

        I can’t understand anybody Buying ANYTHING over the net. Not with all the fraud and acount hacking taking place. Just look at the FNB chaos at the moment.with money mysteriously dissapearing out of accounts.

        • Randy

          I’ve been buying online for years without a single hack/scam… if you’re careless you’re a target, as much as the guy going to the mall with his wallet half hanging out of his butt pocket….

      • My_opinion247

        Today yes it can still be tricky (specifically if you have a hunch back/ peg leg/ lumpy disposition). But once your body dimensions have been scanned, it will be a whole new ball game.

        • LBS

          Good heavens, I would hate my dimensions being scanned and placed on the internet! LOL

  • Gary Fields

    we getting malled to death

  • Runnin Bare

    Future accommodation for the EFF if they get there way…..☺

    • emelda

      How will the EFF can accom there if i may ask?

      • Runnin Bare

        Looters in waiting.

  • #TimeForChange

    South Africans love shopping with their money – politicians love shopping with other people’s money…

  • VaMutuki

    Damn! And I had just moved in here. I was running away from Shopping malls.

  • thornik

    All those brands’ shops ARE EMPTY even in existing malls, WTF they expect in a new mall?! Idiotic logic: if nobody can afford woolworth things in one shop, let’s build another shop in a 0.00000001% hope some fat cat come and buy your goddamn low quality shoes. It’s not telling about rent cost – additional money you pay above 1000% profit of greedy moron-shop-owner.

  • Jacques

    What one hell of a place to be stocked up with “made in China” Products!
    The Chinese economy is booming again!

  • the-TRUTH

    My problem with fast mushrooming shopping centres developments is that they are contributing to eradicating rare natural species (both flora and fauna). Another negative about malls is their high maintenance costs and high water consumption; while they usually result in more traffic congestion = more air / atmosphere pollution…

  • Debbie Rajacoomar

    And how will they be powering all this new development ??¿

  • Teresa Williams

    Any effort being made to make that monstrosity “green”? Doesn’t look like it . . .

  • muntu

    Biggest mall in Africa is not Gateway. Just because you are in SA does not mean the biggest mall is in South Africa. Please read here to get the full list of the top 5 biggest malls in Africa. :

  • The Black Mitzvah

    @Charl van der Merwe: “ugh, really ? another shopping mall. Yea cause we were really running low on shopping malls….I will never understand why people love malls so much”. Here yourself speak or rather should I say look at u, don’t get this twisted u’re contradicting yourself and let people be…

  • Rob Thomas

    This article is not entirely accurate. Shopping centre sizes are measured in gross leasable area, and Gateway is definitely not 220,000 square metres. Figures from the SA Council of Shopping Centres put it around 150,000, with Mall of Africa at 116,000 – unless said centre has seen an extension due to pre-opening demand. Anyway, it’s moot as Menlyn is scheduled to become the largest centre in the country by end 2016, with 170,000 square metres slated as being the new GLA.

    • Rob Thomas

      PS if Mall of Africa is 116,000, then their marketing hype about being the biggest single phase opening in SA is also dubious. If memory serves, Gateway opened at 120,000 in 2001, slightly bigger than Canal Schlep at the time.

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