- The eagerly awaited Boardwalk Mall grand opening takes place Thursday, 22 September.
- The 24 000sqm mall is fully let with an exciting variety of 92 stores.
- With an events arena, cinemas, restaurants and more, it offers unparalleled entertainment.
The 24 000sqm Boardwalk Mall in Gqeberha is nearly complete and ready for its grand opening to shoppers on Thursday, 22 September.
Boardwalk Mall is a major development by Flanagan & Gerard Group and Emfuleni Resorts, a subsidiary of Sun International (JSE: SUI). The result is the extension and upgrade of the Boardwalk Precinct around the landmark Boardwalk Casino and Entertainment World in Summerstrand.
The new Boardwalk Mall features 92 stores, 30 of which opened in the first phase in March 2022. The mall is anchored by the first Checkers, Woolworths Food and Dis-Chem stores in its area. The offering is complemented by a Pick n Pay and Clicks, plus the latest VIP cinema upgrade from NuMetro.
Also set to wow Boardwalk Mall’s shoppers is its new 2 500sqm open arena, the multi-functional Sunpark events arena, with a big screen, fountain, restaurants spilling out onto the square, a variety of coffee shops and casual dining experiences, and the Magic Company gaming arcade. It includes a landscaped children’s play area with the existing festival lawns area linking Boardwalk Mall and the events arena.
Paul Gerard, MD of Flanagan & Gerard, “We are incredibly excited about the opening of Boardwalk Mall. While we first identified the potential of this development over a decade ago, it was in early 2019 that we presented a plan to Sun International to create a dominant high-end convenience centre for Summerstrand that introduced many major retailers not yet in the area, but for which there was a big demand from the thriving local community.”
More than this, its incredible location opposite the Blue Flag Hobie Beach, adjacent to the 6 000m2 Boardwalk Casino and the 140-room, 5-star Boardwalk Hotel, also presented a unique opportunity to become the entertainment heart of Gqeberha. The vision for Boardwalk Mall is built on offering world-class convenience and entertainment to the Summerstrand region.
Construction of the 24 000sqm single-level Boardwalk Mall was ready to commence in February 2020 but was delayed by the pandemic lockdown. Demolition and bulk earthworks were finally able to get underway from February to April 2021, and construction began in May 2021.
Anthony Leeming, CEO of Sun International, comments, “The redevelopment of the Boardwalk Mall has been in the planning for a number of years and despite all the challenges over the last few years, we are incredibly proud to finally be opening the final phase of the redeveloped Mall. The Boardwalk Mall promises to bring to Gqeberha a world-class convenience shopping and entertainment destination which is sorely missing in the Summerstrand precinct. I would like to thank our partners in Emfuleni, Zonwabise, and our partners in the mall, Flanagan & Gerard, for making the redevelopment of the mall a reality.”
Giving substance to the development’s deep commitment to creating local employment and opportunities, it has created more than 1 300 jobs during its construction phase. In addition, some 80% of work on site was completed by local subcontractors using local labour. The remaining subcontractors also employed local labour.
In addition, the mall donated building materials, from windows and doors to roof sheeting, to the local school, Healing Minds. Boardwalk Mall and its management offices also feature local artists’ work.
Tenants at the new mall
Flanagan & Gerard has earned a reputation for opening its shopping centres fully let, and Boardwalk Mall is no exception. Its carefully refined tenant mix is curated for the local market first and foremost.
This includes a robust athleisure offering from Sportscene, Totalsports and Side Step. Health and beauty is another stand-out category, including Legends Barber, Rain, Red Square, OTG Wellness, The Hair Studio, Spec-Savers, Execuspecs, Kader’s Barber and Le Rubis Nail Bar.
The Boardwalk Mall also has an exciting range of unique and different stores, including the quality heritage fashion of MaXhosa, vintage style from Hombakazi, boutique Obriani and the bohemian fashion of BoHo girl.
Then, there’s popular fashion from Legit, Queenspark, Senqu, Pick n Pay Clothing and Ackermans, and accessories from Lovisa. @Home and Heylo beautifully cater for home and gifting.
Everyday banking and convenient services include Nedbank, Capitec, ABSA, FNB, Standard Bank, Imali Forex, Postnet and Foto Fame.
Boardwalk Mall’s incredible meet-and-greet restaurants run by locals for locals include all-day diner, Hello, It’s Me, the Portuguese hospitality of Bem Vindo, The Granary and Spur. Shoppers are spoiled for choice when it comes to casual dining and fast food, including Friesland Milk Bar, Paul’s Homemade Ice-Cream, Paco Taco, Steers, Debonairs Fishaways, Wimpy, Vida E, Urban Roti, Mochachos, Balkan Burger and Foo Jiu Sushi.
The mall’s design
All this is set in a spectacular mall designed by MDS Architecture to integrate into the existing Boardwalk Precinct architecture using a contemporary interpretation of the current style with design features like the shape of the roofs and an aesthetic of a refurbished dockside building. Internally, chic industrial elements include exposed structural details and tactile materials.
Keeping the environment in mind, the mall reclaimed the landscaping from the original scheme, carefully removing and replanting trees that have already been growing for a year. It also uses energy-efficient lighting, incorporates natural wood and concrete materials, and has backup water solutions.
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Superb accessibility is a key design factor, highlighted by the pedestrian-friendly connections to the building from Marine Drive, the hotel and casino. Shoppers can step out onto the beautiful beachfront promenade directly from the mall. New pedestrian crossings have also been added to the upgraded roads surrounding Boardwalk Mall to ensure a safe stroll from the nearby school, university, guest houses, and residents.
The mall has more than 1 000 public parking bays and provides reserved parking bays for shoppers with special needs close to its entrances. It has dedicated tenant parking and a taxi drop-off and pick-up zone.
What to look forward to
There is much to look forward to at Boardwalk Mall, including its opening celebrations. There will be competitions, prizes and live entertainment for the whole family, including the choir and band from a local school, Pearson High School, performing live in the Sunpark arena.
Boardwalk Mall opens on World Rhino Day and, in support of Rhino Conservation, it will host Wayne Bolton and his team from the 2 400km Forever Rhino Ride mountain bike journey from Windhoek, Namibia, to Gqeberha.
Boks in the Park is another highlight of the centre’s first weekend of trading. On Saturday, 24 September, the Sunpark arena will show the Springbok vs Argentina game live on the big screen, from 15:00 to 19:00, providing an excellent opportunity for families and friends to enjoy the game, and the new shopping centre, together.