Gillwell Taxi Rank Park to optimise E London spending power

Carin Smith

East London - The 22 260m², three-level R316m Gillwell Taxi Retail Park is set to open in East London's CBD on Thursday November 12.

It has been developed for Dipula Income Fund by Isibonelo Property Services and Eris Property Group. Dipula Income Fund is a JSE-listed REIT with B-BBEE credentials. It is managed by a 100% black owned management company.

According to Dipula CEO Izak Petersen, over 1.5 million shoppers are expected to pass through the shopping centre’s doors during its first month of trade.

The centre increases the retail variety in East London and complements, rather than competes with, other shopping malls, in his view.

“The many people who work, live and commute in the city centre every day mean that Gillwell Taxi Rank Park already has an excellent trade market. It has a natural critical mass of shopper numbers made up of consumers that were previously under-served by retail,” said Shadrack Mthethwa, CEO of Isibonelo Property Services. “Gillwell Taxi Rank Park is positioned to optimise the spending power of this valuable consumer market.”

Gillwell Taxi Rank Park is within walking distance of all key metropolitan and regional government departments. It is also near to the local train station, buses and harbour. The Mercedes Benz factory – the largest employer in East London – is close by.
The growing student population of nearby educational institutions including the University of Fort Hare, Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan University, Unisa and various schools and colleges, will also be catered for at the shopping centre.

Petersen said the shopping centre is over 95% let for opening. Its anchor tenants include Game and Shoprite. Its clothing and accessory stores include Identity, Foschini, Truworths, Ideals, Selfast, Mr Price, Choice Clothing, Fashion express, Ackermans, Markham’s, John Craig, Grand shoes, Franco Ceccato, MarsM, Germany Clothing, Jumbo, Dodo’s, Remtau Clothing, Tekkie Town, Dunns, Rage, Webbers, Skipper Bar, Style Diva and Sterns.

When it comes to fast food, Gillwell Taxi Rank Park will serve up Fish & Chips Co., Hungry Lion, Debonairs, Pie City and Chesa Nyama with other food brands to follow.

It will also offer banking from Old Mutual, FNB, Hollard, Nedbank, Net1 Financial, Finbond and Capitec. Cell phone and associated services include MCell, PepCell, Cell 2 Sound, Happy Go Cellphone and Vodacom.

Other tenants include Pep Home, Mr Curtain and Happy Home, Clicks and Signature Cosmetics.

As for activity in East London’s housing market, it has swung into top gear according to Hanlie Bassingthwaighte, area principal for Pam Golding Properties.

“In terms of demand, the market has fully recovered and we are now selling as many houses across most suburbs as we did just prior to the national market slump in 2008. A key factor which is fuelling the current market is the significant increase in property acquisitions by black buyers. At present, 59% of our sales are to black buyers, compared with 40% in 2014," she said.

"We now have a very active market with a shortage of reasonably priced stock in all price brackets, but particularly in the R1.5 million price range.”

In areas such as Nahoon, Nahoon Mouth, Nahoon Valley, Abbotsford and Bunkers Hill, PGP luxury sales ranged from R5.95m to R6.5m, R6.95m, R8.9m and R9.4m.

“There’s also huge value for money available in the city’s housing market, which is a key attraction for first time and family buyers, with many bargains to be had in areas such as Cambridge, Amalinda and Gonubie – where you can still buy a good size three bedroom home for under R1m,” she added.

In Gonubie, a coastal village only 15km from East London, properties are considerably inexpensive when compared to the city. An independent community comprising some 3 500 houses and with a good primary school and high school as well as a golf club, houses start from below R1m for small residences or even a three bedroom apartment.

In Beacon Bay, where sales in the R1.8m to R2m price bracket are most active, more upmarket properties achieve prices of R1.45m for a three bedroom penthouse, or in the region of R2.8m for a spacious modern home, usually on large grounds.

Lifestyle properties are also selling, with smallholdings ranging in size from 6.4ha to 18ha and 36.6ha selling through PGP from R1.35m to R3.5m in areas such as Rainbow Valley and East Coast Resort, on the outskirts of East London. Buyers are seeking a more tranquil way of life with wide open spaces and perhaps the opportunity to keep a few horses.