Developers of the R1.7-billion Baywest Mall in Port Elizabeth are preparing for a bumper 2014, with work to start next month (January) on laying the double-storey centre’s 7.5 million bricks. The development, undertaken by Billion Group and Abacus Asset Management, officially launched with an onsite party last month. It is on track to open its doors in March 2015. Given the rain in the Bay in recent weeks, the 600 workers on site will be labouring for an extra week, shutting down on December 20 instead of with the rest of the industry today.
From January 6 when work resumes on site, the pace will pick up substantially, according to Baywest MD Gavin Blows. By mid-2014, about 2,000 workers – from carpenters to bricklayers – will be feverishly working on site. Basil Read, which has been awarded the tender for developing a R300-million road network around the mall by the SA National Roads Agency Ltd (SANRAL), is also set to start work in January. The network includes building an offramp from the N2 freeway to the mall and connecting Walker Drive in Sherwood with Old Cape Road in Rowallan Park. Already principal contactor Murray & Roberts has commenced with laying the concrete slabs which form the base of the mall. When complete, about 60,000m³ of concrete will have been thrown.
Come February, work on the mall’s roof will commence, with 65,000m² of roof sheeting in total. About 5,000 tons of reinforcing steel will be used on the centre, and a further 1,000 tons of structural steel. Come October 2014, work on the final stages of the mall will be underway. The landscaping is scheduled to start by the end of that month, while the 250 shops will start being fitted. The mall will boast about 3.5km of shop fronts and a mammoth 35km of electrical cabling. “Everyone has done a remarkable job on getting the mall started this year,” said Blows. “They deserve a good break, because next year will be non-stop.
“We are extremely excited to be able to bring what will be a unique shopping experience in South Africa to the Eastern Cape. Before we know it Baywest will be open for business and changing the way people think about the Eastern Cape.” Blows said the community’s excitement ahead of the mall’s opening, and the injection of the mall’s development into the local economy by creating 3,000 direct jobs and up to 7,000 indirect and induced jobs, made Baywest an invaluable asset. The mall forms the first phase of the larger Baywest City precinct, which Blows said would become “the Century City [in Cape Town] of the region”.