Dunes Mall will not deprive the cbd of shops

With the exception of Woolworths and Spur, all of the transnational retailers setting up shop in the new Dunes Mall in Walvis Bay will continue their existing business operations in the central business district (cbd) of the harbour town.
This lays to rest concerns that large swaths of commercial floor space will lay vacant in the harbour town’s central business district when Dunes Mall opens to the public on 26 October.
In a snap-survey this week by namib times, it was established Woolworths will be vacating its current premises on the corner of 14th Road and Hage Geingob Avenue. The same confirmation was obtained from Spur which vacates its current premises in Theo-Ben Gurirab Avenue. Musica is still contemplating its options and might also retain its current shop in the Seagulls Shopping Mall.
Jet Stores, Clicks, Ackermann’s and Markham will open shops in Dunes Mall, but retain their current shops.
Although fears can now be laid to rest over commercial floor space laying vacant soon, there still remains a level of uncertainty and concern among cbd-landlords. Significant commercial space was added to Walvis Bay’s central areas in recent years with developments such as Katulife Mall and Pelican Mall. Supply exceeded demand and rental prices dropped. Coupled with a poor performing economy many landlords cut rental prices or opted not to enforce the contractual annual escalations.
“I cannot say rent dropped by 50 % What I can say its significantly cheaper now to rent and that is as a result of oversupply in commercial space in the central areas and a slowdown of the economy. Landords fear tenants might close down or relocate based on rental prices”, an estate agent explained. She opted to stay anonymous, as she deals with client confidentiality.
A tenant of one of the commercial spaces in the cbd said he thinks the rental market in the cbd now reached a point where tenants have more bargaining power.
“It has become unaffordable in recent years, but the fact is that a bigger supply of commercial space in the central areas resulted in our landlords opting not to increase rent annually. Furthermore, paying rent reaches a saturation point where it becomes viable to approach a bank and buy your own business premises as an investment”. This particular shop owner’s rental contract expires in the foreseeable future and he says he is keeping his options open. “Let us see what the future holds for the central business district”.
A second estate agent explained although there is an oversupply in commercial space in the central areas, the Dunes Mall is not expected to impact the rental market in the cbd significantly. What Dunes Mall did in fact was increasing the demand for warehouse space in its immediate surroundings as many of the shops are in need of bigger storage space. Not only storage for the newcomers, but also the transnationals mentioned above who opted to open a second outlet in Dunes Mall and not letting go of their existing outlets in the central areas.

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