Flanagan & Gerard Group and Emfuleni Resorts, a subsidiary of Sun International, have confirmed that they will go ahead with the planned extension and upgrade to the retail area at Boardwalk Casino and Entertainment World, Nelson Mandela Bay Metro. Construction of the R500 million redevelopment project is scheduled to commence in the first quarter of 2021.

The development is expected to more than double the retail space in the Boardwalk Precinct, which will be tenanted with retailers to the local market, and ready to open in 2022. The planned Boardwalk Mall retail mix includes two supermarkets, two pharmacies, specialist food retailer and major bank representation. An appealing variety of restaurants, coffee shops and fast-food options will be complemented by health and beauty, home and décor, cellular and electronics, gifting, sports and speciality shops. Everyday services and essential fashion will also feature.

The team behind the project remain confident in the future of Nelson Mandela Bay Metro and its people, even in the midst of an extraordinary time in history. 

The project’s partners comment, “We believe that the Boardwalk Mall redevelopment has become more relevant for its community than ever, and we couldn’t be more pleased to confirm that it will be proceeding with this investment. Our hope is that its impacts will be felt in a more meaningful way than we could have anticipated. Our approach to the development includes a sharp focus on creating positive opportunities in the local market. The entire project has been designed to be very positive for the local economy and job creation, which will be significant in both the construction phase and after opening.”

The developers will work with a local community liaison officer to ensure optimal positive impact. A development of this kind typically creates about 2,000 jobs during construction and roughly 1,500 permanent posts thereafter. In keeping with the team’s commitment to economic development, local contractors and materials will be used wherever possible. As part of the development, there will be significant investment in upgrading surrounding roads. Second Avenue will be widened into four lanes, and it will include a new entrance into Boardwalk Mall.

The expertise of Flanagan & Gerard will drive the delivery of Boardwalk Mall. The acclaimed retail developer has earned an excellent track record of creating exceptional shopping centres and delivering many of successful malls during trying economic times. Award-winning MDS Architecture is designing the development. 

The redevelopment is being built from an excellent foundation. Boardwalk Casino and Entertainment World are well established as prominent landmarks in Nelson Mandela Bay. A short walk from the Blue Flag awarded Hobie Beach, it is a prime holiday and leisure destination distinguished by exceptional entertainment and attractions, including the only licenced casino in Nelson Mandela Bay and one of only two cinema venues in the city. The precinct currently comprises of the 6,000sqm Boardwalk Casino, 140 key 5-Star Boardwalk Hotel, conference facilities, 11,800sqm of existing retail including a five-screen Nu Metro cinema complex. 

Elevating the Boardwalk Precinct’s total experience, the retail space will be increased to 23,000sqm, and enhanced with an extensive upgrade and reconfiguration. More leisure and retail options will be added, with even more shops, restaurants, and family fun. And, among the many highlights that guests can look forward to is the spectacular new Sun Park Square which designed to host events.

Anthony Leeming, CEO of Sun International, comments, “We are excited about the many synergies between the different elements of the new Boardwalk Precinct. The retail, leisure, casino and events will all complement each other, and create an amazing experience for guests. Its different uses will also appeal to a wide-range of people and ensure the precinct is activated around the clock and throughout the week. Sun Park Square will also be able to host events that cater to local lifestyles, such as the Iron Man.”

Bongi Siwisa, Chairperson of Emfuleni Resorts, says, “As long-standing partners of Sun International and investors in the Boardwalk Hotel and Casino, including its current retail, Emfuleni is pleased to extend our investment to the new Boardwalk Mall. We believe it is going to be a great asset for ourselves and its community.”

The mall will cater to an under-served immediate trade area of upscale neighbourhoods where there is good demand for quality convenience shopping. Superbly accessible for residents of some of Nelson Mandela Bay Metro’s most well-established leafy suburbs – Summerstrand, Humewood, and Walmer – as well as its CBD, Boardwalk Mall will offer a bespoke curation of brands, services and experiences, all hand-picked for local shoppers.

Being at the heart of a celebrated leisure node on the city’s hotel-lined beachfront, entertainment will be key to its mix, making it an appealing destination for weekend and holiday shoppers too.

It is also central to a cluster of education institutions, including Nelson Mandela University Business School and Drama School as well as several primary and high schools.

Paul Gerard, MD of Flanagan & Gerard, says, “We have always felt that this is a unique, strategic and exciting retail development opportunity in South Africa, and our view still holds. It is a privilege to working with visionary partners of the calibre of Emfuleni Resorts and Sun International to development the ultimate convenience shopping experience in Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, and we look forward to being part of the venture that will make this vision a reality.”

With 17 hectares of land available for the redevelopment, Boardwalk Mall is only the first phase of the redevelopment. There are plans to add even more variety in future, which could include additional hospitality, medical suites, big-box retail and a health club.