New mall will make Newcastle swing

Mhlaba Memela

Newcastle will get a multimillion- rand shopping mall next year.

The northern KwaZulu-Natal town's R230million Century Mall development is a response to overwhelming positive market research.

The shopping and entertainment development will be next to the newly built R100million Century Casino Spa and Hotel. It is scheduled to open in spring next year.

Vivian Reddy, a businessman and the developer of the mall, said: "This development will be the largest in northern KwaZulu-Natal and means that Newcastle is about to be transformed into a glamorous, vibrant and 'happening' town.

"Our construction plans have been finalised and building is due to start in July. The project will create 2000 jobs, most of them for people from the Newcastle area. Local contractors will also benefit from the project," said Reddy.

The mall has space for 120 retailers and is the largest commercial development to be undertaken in the area. It will have cinemas, big fashion retailers, supermarkets, furniture and homeware stores, restaurants, fast-food outlets, coffee bars, an entertainment area and about 1500 parking bays.

Reddy said: "Local retailers and entrepreneurs will ensure community ownership and a positive spin-off for the local economy.

"We also intend housing a radio station in the complex and there will be special facilities for taxis."

According to the planning proposal, 70percent of the tenants will be national retailers and 30percent local retailers.

The decor plans and top quality finishes will create an atmosphere that will complement that of the adjoining casino.

Of the 700 000 people in the greater Amajuba district, 550 000 live in Newcastle.

Since the relocation of the Century Casino in December, 100000 people have visited it every month and more than 500000 vehicles pass the site every month.