This pop up retail space will host Nelson Mandela Square and guest tenants during the centre’s refurbishment. Development isn’t restricted to Sandton City though, there are huge projects going on all around the precinct.
Sandton City is moving with the times**. The latest area to undergo a revamp as part of the precinct’s R1.7bn overhaul is Nelson Mandela Square which boasts the majority of the Sandton neighbourhood’s premier restaurants.
Now that Nelson Mandela Square is being overhauled, one of the precinct’s best loved ‘see and be seen’ spaces is largely closed to the public. Ever resourceful, Sandton City recently announced the launch of ‘Merchants on the Square’, a temporary mixed use retail space which will operate until the end of October 2015.
Participating tenants are being housed periodically throughout the construction period in pop-up containers custom designed according to each tenant’s needs. Mid-August saw the Butcher Shop & Grill, Edible Bouquets, Union Bar and Latte Liscious take up residence. Hard Rock Café (which is still trading) also had a presence in the form of a merchandise pop-up store and mini stage.
Tables shaded by umbrellas and benches made out of pallets were scattered in and around the stores a la pavement café style albeit with a distinctly industrial edge in keeping with the surrounding construction work. Latte Liscious’s light meals and coffees had patrons queuing as did Union Bar’s unique cocktail menu. Various activations will take place at the temporary venue until the square is fully geared to serve in style once more.
If Trump’s Grill & Steakhouse which has already opened its newly refurbished doors is anything to go by, the new Nelson Mandela Square will be a hit. Trump’s now features a slick new interior, more seating space, private celebration rooms and a new butchery.
The newly revamped Nelson Mandela Square represents just one of the gems in Sandton City’s ‘crown’. Work on the precinct-wide overhaul of Sandton City (which includes three existing office towers and a hotel) kicked off with an internal refurbishment programme of the existing mall in 2009. Upon completion of the internal refurbishment, 30 000sqm’s of additional retail space was added, bringing the total floor space to 215 000sqm’s. Improvements have also been made to the office and hospitality nodes. As if all that wasn’t enough, plans are in place to construct a new office tower as well as a residential component and an additional al-fresco dining node in the future.
Arguably one of the most notable additions to the precinct has been the ‘Diamond Walk’, a spectacular new link between Sandton City’s upper level and the Sandton Sun and the Sandton InterContinental. The Diamond Walk plays host to some of the world’s most sought-after luxury brands including Prada, Dolce & Gabanna, Giorgio Armani, Billionaire Italian Couture, Jimmy Choo, Burberry, Louis Vuitton and Gucci, amongst others. Expensive shopping is thirsty work which is why patrons will be glad to know they can enjoy a glass of bubbly and a gourmet meal at the new, bespoke ‘Arque Champagne Crescent’ which is conveniently located at the hotel and Diamond Walk juncture.
Notably, the development isn’t limited to Sandton City. Major development is occurring all around the precinct too. Construction of an 85 000sqm head office for Discovery has begun on the corner of Rivonia Road and Katherine Street; Sasol will also consolidate its offices into a new 67 000sqm building on Katherine Street; law firm Webber Wentzel will relocate to a new 33 000sqm building at 90 Rivonia Road; Pivotal Property Fund has begun construction on a 35 000sqm office development at Alice Lane and Old Mutual Engineering Markets will move into a new head office on Stella Road in the near future.
With so much development and the best of the best taking up residence, it looks like Sandton City will continue to maintain its reputation as Africa’s richest square mile for many years to come.
Pictures by Jason Parker