Market Square owners expand retail footprint

Ulana van Biljon, COO of Emira.

EMIRA Property Fund, owners of The Market Square in Plettenberg Bay, continues to grow value in its retail property portfolio, having invested over R250-million in acquiring new centres and upgrading existing ones.

The leading JSE-listed REIT (real estate investment trust) is already reaping the rewards of its investment in retail properties across the country.

Emira is a diversified midcap REIT invested in a quality balanced portfolio of office, retail and industrial properties. Its assets comprise 146 properties valued at R13-billion. It is also internationally diversified through its 4.9% direct holding in ASXlisted GOZ, valued at R942.7million. Combined, its total assets come to R14billion.

Boosting its retail portfolio, Emira recently acquired a 50% undivided share in Shoprite Mall in Mitchell’s Plain in the Western Cape for R75.3-million.

COO Ulana van Biljon explains: “We believe that through attentive asset management, we can unlock new potential from the centre that will have a positive impact on the surrounding community, and create a more secure shop¬ping environment.

Emira also recently completed a R 12,1-million upgrade to accommodate new and bigger stores at The Market Square, which is located in a growing retail node just outside Plettenberg Bay CBD.

With retail space of 14,924sqm, it is now home to over 50 stores, restau-rants and service outlets. Boasting Woolworths and Pick n Pay as anchor food tenants, the centre has welcomed the addition of Standard Bank and Nedbank branches to boost banking services beyond its previous ATM offering.

Emira’s upgrade of The Market Square also saw its Woolworths store expand and upgrade. Its investment at The Market Square was made on the back of its strong trading record and retailer demand. It is the second expansion of the centre in five years.

Van Biljon reports: “In 2010 we spent R28-million to extend the centre by l,091sqm to accommodate both Clicks and Edgars. Since then, it has continued to trade well, positioning it¬self as the dominant shop-ping centre in the area. The improvement in turnovers and trading densities across the centre since this project was completed was added motivation to go ahead with the latest expansion.”

Other centres recently acquired by Emira include Ben Fleur Boulevard in Emalahleni, Springfield Re¬tail Centre in Durban, and Granada Square in Umhlanga Rocks.

MARKET SQUARE UPGRADED: Emira’s first upgrade in 2010 saw the addition of Edgars and Clicks, while the most recent work included the expansion of Woolworths and the addition of Standard Bank and Nedbank

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