Major extensions at Liberty Group’s Sandton City

An artist's impression of the refurbished interior envisaged at Sandton CityLiberty Group, the major stakeholder in Sandton City, has recently announced that the shopping mall will undergo a substantial upgrade to the value of R1.77 billion.

The first phase of the upgrade includes the refurbishment of the existing centre and the addition of 30 000 m square metres of new retail space. On completion of this phase the entire retail space, including the extension, will total 131 000 m square metres. This will take the complex, which also includes offices, to a massive 205 000 m square metres.

The first phase forms part of a broader vision for the repositioning of the centre by Liberty Property Development, which is managing the project on behalf of the owners Liberty Group and Pareto Limited.

“Sandton City has always had a strong international connection and the design of the new extension and the refurbishment of the existing centre will combine international standards with contemporary architectural expressions which reflect our unique South African heritage,” says Caswell Rampheri, chief operating officer for Liberty Properties.

Liberty Property Development appointed the London branch of RTKL Associates as the concept designers for the project, to work in association with the South African based firms of MDS Architecture (the original architects for the centre) and MMA Architects.

The brief to the design team was to reposition Sandton City in line with the changing face of its surrounding area, consumer requirements, retailer demand and international design trends, and to retain its status as one of the country’s premier retail centres.

One of the key objectives of the extension is to optimise customer flows which will be achieved with the creation of a ‘continuous loop mall’ connecting the existing mall on both shopping levels to the new mall to create a complete circuit.

The first phase of the project is well under way with demolition nearly complete and construction on the extension due to start soon. It is scheduled for completion by late 2011.

The vision for further phases includes the construction of a new office tower of about 65 stories on the existing complex footprint, a realignment of the mall connecting the Southern Sun hotel to the centre, and the introduction of a significant residential component.

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