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RETAIL: Central Square at Menlyn Maine Introduces Unique Architectural Boutique-styled Shopping and Leisure Experience


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South Africa will soon have a new architectural landmark. The iconic new Central Square at Menlyn Maine will open in Pretoria on 21 September 2016, introducing a distinctive new design attraction and a unique shopping and leisure experience.

The 65,000sqm R1.8 billion mixed-use Central Square is designed to be the heart of Menlyn Maine, a ground breaking 315,000sqm decentralised green city mega-development.

Central Square is co-owned by joint investors Menlyn Maine Investment Holdings and the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) represented by the PIC.

It will offer a 30,000sqm of exceptional boutique-styled mall development with over 50 hand-picked retailers, restaurants, and entertainment experiences. It is a powerful proposition for daily convenience shopping with anchor retailers Spar, Pick n Pay, and Woolworths and a Clicks pharmacy, and includes the capital’s first and only Virgin Classic gym and Bounce trampoline park.

Commenting on the design of the new Central Square, Henk Boogertman, Architectural Director of Menlyn Maine Investment Holdings (Pty) Ltd says: “As the city centre of Menlyn Maine, Central Square is a uniquely crafted to be ideal for convenient daily shopping yet, at the same time, provides a compelling design experience perfect for leisure and packed with major attractions.”

He adds: “Central Square has many differentiating aspects, which makes it unique. It is designed to be the unrivalled and vibrant hub of South Africa’s only green city and it is so much more than yet another mall. At Central Square you’ll also find a mix of features such as a piazza, public park, hotel, apartments, conferencing, offices, hospital, sporting facilities and, of course, specially selected retail and restaurants.”

The Central Square development is design-driven, with the overall architecture of the building being contemporary and timeless - unique in appearance, shape and form.

Boogertman explains the shopping centre has been imagined as a ‘high street’, in the fashion of pedestrianised shopping streets in leading cities around the world.

Outside, it is defined by distinctive finishes in black face brick, beige-coloured limestone cladding and charcoal-tinted Reinzink. Inside, a granite-paved mall is accompanied by a combination of oak wood and stucco plastered bulkheads. It is crowned with a glass roof, accentuated with acoustically-treated intermediate ceiling panels, allowing glorious natural light to gently spill into the mall.

Each shop at Central Square has an exclusive, bespoke shopfront made of steel, aluminium, and wood, all in shades of charcoal black.

“The finishes enhance the exclusive quality of the retail environment and the materials used strengthen the human-friendly scale and ambience of the building,” notes Boogertman.

Open-air dining is a major feature of Central Square, with Pretoria having one of the best climates in the world.

Boogertman reports: “For Central Square, we’ve taken a fundamental approach to place making in the heart of Menlyn Maine. This takes cognisance of the fact that most great city centre spaces worldwide have centrally located piazzas where people can mingle, meet, trade from markets and enjoy exhibitions, functions, festivals and the like. We’ve giving Menlyn Maine such a space with the Central Square piazza as the heart of the precinct.”

Activating the piazza are the restaurants, coffee shops, pubs and hotel that are all set around it, as well as big trees, water features, and public artworks. The centre’s two internal courts both open, through sliding glass, onto the trees and cafes outdoors.

Central Square also provides a lush green park that runs in a strip through the whole precinct, starting with a private park for its residential quarter, then going through the buildings and alongside Central Square, and culminating in a major park and piazza feature in front of the spectacular Sun International Time Square casino, 5-star hotel and 8,000-seater multi-purpose arena development planned for Menlyn Maine.

“This provides a softer space for people to walk and relax. This park will be activated with public amenities, from play areas to art,” explains Boogertman.

Ultimately, Central Square is designed to meet so much more than the day-to-day requirements of its immediate high-end shoppers and beyond. “The design of Central Square articulates the Menlyn Maine vision to create a modern, New Urban city precinct, where everything is right on one’s doorstep and people can live full, balanced, responsible and exciting lives in a well-secured environment,” says Boogertman.

Menlyn Maine is South Africa’s first green, mixed-use city precinct. As a partner of the Clinton Climate Initiative, Menlyn Maine is one of 16 green cities being built in various countries, and the only one in Africa. In line with Menlyn Maine’s exceptional sustainability benchmarks, all buildings in the precinct are set to be rated 4 Green Star SA or higher by the Green Building Council of South Africa. It is also targeting a LEED ND certification for the precinct.

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