In his official address, Eastern Cape Premier, Lubabalo Oscar Mabuyane, welcomed the investment by Emfuleni Resorts and Flanagan & Gerard. “Boardwalk has always been one of the best-identified tourist facilities in Nelson Mandela Bay, and the development of Boardwalk Mall will now enhance its popularity.”
The 24,000sqm Boardwalk Mall is a major development by Flanagan & Gerard Group and Emfuleni Resorts, a subsidiary of Sun International (JSE: SUI).
Anthony Leeming, CEO of Sun International, pointed out that the mall’s journey began eight years ago well before its development commenced. “We had a dream to redevelop the mall and were very fortunate to eventually find the right partners in Flanagan & Gerard. Sun International is invested in the Eastern Cape, committed to Gqeberha and proud to be partners in Boardwalk Mall – it is an amazing mall befitting the friendly city."
It is the result of the extension and upgrade of the Boardwalk Precinct, which brings an exciting array of world-class convenience and entertainment to Gqeberha.
The grand opening of this retail, lifestyle and entertainment powerhouse, with its beachfront location, convenient retail and services, fast foods and restaurants, entertainment and unique attractions, has created a vibrant new social and shopping heart for Gqeberha.
The new Boardwalk Mall has been developed with a carefully curated tenant mix to serve its local community first and foremost, while having a wide appeal to a large cross-section of shoppers, holidaymakers and tourists.
Shoppers can step out onto the beautiful beachfront promenade of the Blue Flag Hobie Beach directly opposite the mall, which is adjacent to the 6,000m2 Boardwalk Casino and the 140-room, 5-star Boardwalk Hotel.
MDS Architecture designed the Boardwalk Mall with its setting and the environment in mind. It integrates into the existing Boardwalk Precinct architecture and among its internal chic industrial elements of natural wood and concrete, you’ll find energy-efficient lighting, backup water solutions and reclaimed landscaping where trees were carefully removed and replanted.
The development has introduced pedestrian-friendly connections to the mall from Marine Drive, the hotel and casino and upgraded roads to ensure a safe stroll from the nearby school, university, guest houses and homes.
It features 92 stores and is anchored by the first Checkers, Woolworths Food and Dis-Chem stores in its area, complemented by a Pick n Pay and Clicks, plus the latest VIP cinema upgrades from NuMetro. It also includes the new 2,500sqm multi-functional open-air Sunpark events arena.
The mall has 1,000-plus public parking bays, reserved parking for shoppers with special needs close to entrances and a dedicated taxi drop-off and pick-up zone.
There are already plenty of events on the cards for next year, from the 2023 Isuzu Ironman on Boardwalk Mall’s front doorstep to being a Fan Park for the 2023 Rugby World Cup, family entertainment and much, much more including the diverse events and conferences hosted by Sun International in the ICC throughout the year
Construction of the 24,000sqm single-level Boardwalk Mall began in May 2021. While 22 September 2022 marked the grand opening celebration of Boardwalk Mall, a third of its tenants opened in the first phase in March 2022 and have been patiently trading while waiting for the second phase to be completed.
Paul Gerard, managing director of Flanagan & Gerard, commented at the official opening of Boardwalk Mall, “This shopping experience is right up there with any other in South Africa! Not only has this development created jobs for the people of Gqeberha, but it has also brought a world-class shopping and entertainment node to the Eastern Cape.”
The development process prioritised local employment and created more than 1,300 jobs during its construction phase. In addition, some 80% of work on site was completed by local subcontractors using local labour. The project also focused on having positive impacts on local education and art, as well as creating safe and welcoming connections for everyone who lives, works, plays and learns in its immediate surroundings.
Chairperson of Emfuleni Resorts, Bongi Siwisa, said, “From an Emfuleni Resorts perspective, since the start more than 20 years ago it has been wonderful to witness the evolution and revolution of this tourism gem. The Boardwalk Hotel & Casino and Boardwalk Mall will stand the test of time.”