African Design Magazine November 2016 - Page 85

Feature said. “The tenant uptake is good because the trading densities are high. These are niche centres which are trading very well at the moment.” Trends show a rise in demand for centres offering a mix of office, health and lifestyle facilities, especially in Johannesburg and Cape Town where traffic congestion meant residents wanted to work, exercise, shop and eat out – all within easy reach. Market research conducted by Abacus ahead of the development of Dainfern showed that the area – Fourways – was one of the highest growth areas in the country. The company is opening its next high-end mixed use retail development in October in the form of The Sanctuary in Somerset West – not far from Abacus’s other celebrated boutique centre, Waterstone Village. Days numbered for mega malls Jaco Odendaal – one of the country’s leading development visionaries and Abacus chairman – said there were very few opportunities left for the construction of new mega malls unless we accept a high level of cannibalism. The company’s last mega mall was the 90 000m² Baywest Mall. “There are very few opportunities left to develop large malls. The market has reached maturity in that respect. You’ll see a lot of expansion on large malls, and a redevelopment of their offerings, but in terms of demographics, they are basically fixed for the time being,” he said. Despite this, super regional malls remained the best performing assets over the long term, he said. The company expected the current economic climate to gradually improve, he said. “The property sector is a long-term investment and we believe that interest rates have reached their peak. The economy has had slow or no growth for an extended period, and in time retail spending will once again increase as the economy expands and households have more disposable income,” Odendaal said.