Eyethu Orange Farm Mall opens its doors

Eyethu Orange Farm Mall opens its doorsAerial photo of Eyethu Orange Farm Mall during construction. (Photo: propertywheel.co.za)

Part-owned by the community it serves, the R400-million development is set to transform one of Joburg's least affluent areas into a thriving business district.

Residents walk to and from Stretford Station along Ridge WalkResidents walk to and from Stretford Station along Ridge Walk, a JDA upgrade project incorporating public furniture and art designed by local artistsThousands of shoppers flocked to the newly built Eyethu Orange Farm Mall as it opened the doors to the public for the first time on Tuesday, 28 October.

The R400-million regional shopping mall is one of the first in South Africa to be partly owned by the community it serves - the Orange Farm Community Trust holds a 10 percent stake in the development, with co-owners Stretford Land Developments, Flanagan & Gerard Investments and JSE-listed Dipula Income Fund each holding 30%.

The two-level, 27 000 square metre facility is expected to transform one of the City's less developed areas, located roughly midway between central Joburg and Vereeniging, into a thriving business district.

Eyethu Orange Farm Mall is home to an array of supermarkets, fashion stores, restaurants, fast food outlets, financial institutions and other offerings, and will serve the residents of Orange Farm and Evaton as well as commuters and shoppers from the greater Sebokeng area.

Roads were improved and the local taxi rank upgraded during the mall's construction, with links to the adjacent Stretford Station being a key element of the mall’s design.

About 7-million Metrorail passengers through Stretford Station each year from as far afield as Lenz, Lawley, Kwaggastroom, Houtheuwel and Grasmere.

The Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA) was involved in identifying the Stretford Station precinct as a hub with the potential for a landmark development in Orange Farm.

With funding from the Neighbourhood Development Partnership Grant, the JDA's Stretford Station project set about improving the area over a four-year period in order to make it more attractive for private sector investment.

Roads were upgraded to facilitate movement to and from the station precinct, and cycle lanes and the iconic Ridge Walk were built as part of a wider public environment upgrade.

JDA Chief Executive Officer Thanduxolo Mendrew said that R40-million was spent on making these improvements over the four-year period.

"These projects were undertaken largely because the community needs the infrastructure, but also because it supported the development of the precinct of which the shopping centre now becomes the focal point," Mendrew said.

Orange farm, with a population of 400 000 people in about 110 000 households, has experienced fast growth over the past eight years. Most of its residents are in the lower-income and middle-income brackets.