Green Light for huge Retail Investment in Walvis Bay! Construction of eagerly awaited mall to start immediately

Bernabé Blaauw

The entrance to the harbour town will be changed forever when construction on the N$480 million Dunes Mall, to be developed on the Diaz traffic circle, starts next week. After numerous complaints of residents over the years that major retail developers are ignoring Walvis Bay, this will soon be a thing of the past.


According to Mr Kallie van der Merwe, CEO of Safland International Property Services, Walvis Bay will become only the second town in Namibia to boast a modern regional centre after the Grove Mall in Windhoek that opened its doors in November last year. Construction will commence immediately and the opening date of the mall is set for May 2017. An exclusive statement released to namib times announces that Dunes Mall is the seventh development project, managed by Safland in Namibia and this is the first development to be undertaken in the newly formed collaboration with retail tycoon, Dr Christo Wiese’s Tradehold. The Mall will be developed on a site located on the Diaz traffic circle, ensuring prime exposure to traffic coming in from Swakopmund on the B2, as well as motorists entering on C14 from the airport. This makes it almost impossible to access Walvis Bay without passing the mall. According to the developers this is also the most ideal position for retailers, banks and other service providers wishing to serve customers from Kuisebmond, Narraville and Meersig alike.

The size of Dunes Mall, which will be the first phase of the Dunes mixed use district, is 28 000 square meters and the projected development cost stands at N$480 million. The primary design focus for Bob Mould & Scheffer Architects, the project architects, was to create a cocoon to protect shoppers against the very harsh elements experienced in Walvis Bay. In order to achieve this, the centre’s back is turned to prevailing winds and the approximately 80 stores will be spread over two shopping levels. This will allow developers to create three wind-protected parking levels of which two will be under cover. The maximum distance from any parking bay to the nearest entrance is less than 50 meters.

Movement between the two shopping levels will be by way of scenic escalators, a first for Walvis Bay, and this will become a design feature of the Mall. The statement further notes that names of prospective tenants will not be released before the leases have been finalised, but Namibian people are well aware of Safland’s reputation in delivering quality centres with an exciting tenant mix. But, for the moment they will confirm that Walvis Bay is regarded as a key development town by all retailers and interest in this development is immense. The aim of the developers is to offer a one-stop destination for old and young that will ensure a friendly

and protected environment to shop, bank, relax and be generally entertained. It is stated that Dunes, as a regional centre, will not only cater for the needs of

Walvis Bay residents, but also for those of the greater Erongo Region, that includes Swakopmund,.Walvis Bay is the coastal town that boasts the strongest fundamentals to justify a regional mall and this is mainly due to the huge infrastructure development projects that are currently underway. The biggest of these is the almost N$4 billion expansion of the harbour and soon-to-start construction of the North harbour. This will cement the importance of Walvis Bay as the most significant harbour town and logistics hub for shipping goods and resources to and from Botswana, Zambia, Angola, South Africa and beyond. As far as employment creation is concerned, the developers are of the opinion that any mall development of this scale, is a great driver of employment, and Dunes will be no different. The number of people employed during the construction phase will be approximately 500. Most of these people, if possible, will be employed locally. This excludes the tens of sub-contractors that will also be sourced from the region. Once operational, Dunes will create at least 800 full-time retail employment opportunities together with jobs in security, cleaning and maintenance.

DuneMall2Most important however is the downstream effect, due to the fact that money currently spent in other towns, Windhoek and even South Africa, will now remain in Namibia, which will help to grow the Walvis Bay economy. Tradehold, that had since created a new subsidiary focused on property development in Africa, entered into an agreement with The Collins Group, Safland and Safcoll, whereby Safcoll became a wholly owned subsidiary of the listed Tradehold Group of Companies.

The focus of the Group is to not only develop properties in Namibia, but also other Countries in Africa, excluding South Africa. All the property operations will be managed by Safland from their offices in Windhoek. Safland will also open offices in Walvis Bay by May 2015, to create a permanent presence in town. Tradehold through Safland is currently investigating other development opportunities in Walvis Bay and is about to start with the construction of a distribution warehouse complex near the site where Dunes Mall will be situated.

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