Emira Property Fund’s Springfield Retail Centre in Durban has relaunched, a year after it was damaged by arson in the widespread devastation of July 2021, where looters made their way into the centre ransacking most of its stores.
The mayhem culminated in an arson attack the next day, with fires starting at Mambo’s Plastic Warehouse and burning along a line of shops, including the centre’s electrical room.
The rebuilding, restoring, and refreshing of the 17 300m2 community-focused lifestyle centre began immediately, with the assistance of the community. Most of the centre was reinstated and trading within a few weeks of the damage occurring, and Emira had the maximum amount of SASRIA cover in place to adequately cover any damages and loss of trading.
Fortunately, only one wing of the centre had structural damage, and around 30% of Block A was cordoned off safely without affecting trade in the rest of the centre, including anchors Food Lovers’ Market, HiFi Corp and Baby City.
As part of reinstating the centre, Emira took the opportunity to refresh and refine its tenant mix and reconfigure space to improve the overall shopping experience.
“We considered general shopping trends, monitored consumer patterns in Springfield Retail Centre’s catchment area and observed the centre’s tenant performance in order to identify improvements for its offering and match them with the type of retailers that would work best for the refreshed centre and its shoppers,” explains Ulana van Biljon, Emira COO.
This included improving the centre’s tenant mix and reconfiguring an underutilised part of the property to create floor space for Coricraft’s new home and décor showroom. The Coricraft concept store opened in April this year, with a new layout and design unique to Springfield Retail Centre. Similarly, Ted’s Home Store also took the opportunity to upgrade its 1 000m2-plus store at Springfield Retail Centre to create an all-new showroom, which opened in May 2022. The combined impact has created one of the strongest home and décor retail offerings in the region.
Finally, most of the restoration work has been completed and Springfield Retail Centre is already trading fully with only Westpack still to open at the end of August 2022. The open-air shopping experience has a refreshed array of tenants, from fashion and home furnishings to babies, tech and more.