By Donna Collins
FINALLY Swakopmund can brag of owning its very own super shopping mall. The new Platz am Meer shopping and lifestyle centre situated at the waterfront, opened its doors for trade last week, amid a frenzy of finishing touches and overwhelming public interest.
Whilst only some of the shops were up and running for the big day, many were still stocking their shelves with merchandise, in preparation for opening their doors for business in the coming days. But after waiting over two years for this big moment, the public weren’t phased, and swarmed through the doors this past weekend, clearly overjoyed by this newfound shopping mall experience.
Already the current parking situation on peak days proved to be inadequate and hazardous for the storm of vehicles and taxis that bottlenecked in the parking area throughout Saturday morning, forcing shoppers to circle endlessly, or leave their cars further up the road and walk.
But once inside the impressive mall with its high ceilings and walkways leading out onto a mini marina, it was easy to see why the Platz-am-Meer, is going to become the go to place for shoppers, families and visitors. Long, naturally-lit corridors under exposed roof trusses lead towards the promenade, which offers spectacular views over the small craft harbour and surrounding beachfront.
Particular attention was given to designing a public friendly waterfront promenade along which several restaurants, coffee shops, and eateries will provide outside seating for those summer days, offering a first time setting of this nature in town.
The grand VIP opening of this N$600 million mixed-use waterfront development is scheduled for October, with President Geingob expected to unveil this new feature. The 27 000 m² retail mall has been developed by Safari Investments Namibia and Safari Developments Swakopmund, who worked frantically to meet their opening deadline.
The Platz am Meer has also been welcomed by the local Government as the most prestigious retail complex in the region, with Erongo Regional Councilor Juuso Kambueshe complementing the developers for a “job well done”.
“The developers have worked well with us, bending over backwards to accommodate the needs of the surrounding residents, the townsfolk and the environment, with so far at least 90 percent of the people saying they are very happy.”
“It might be necessary in the future to create a designated drop off and pick up zone for taxis, but this is something that will still need to be discussed with the municipality.”
Anchor tenants include Woolworths, Checkers and Edgars, with other retailers taking space including Signature Cosmetics, Crazy Store, Ackermans, Vetsmart, Pep Home, CNA, estate agents, Dis-Chem and major banks; bring variety under one roof.
Apart from business premises, there are also luxury apartments on sale for millions of dollars. This seafront retreat which is still under construction will comprise spacious two and three bedroom apartments and penthouses that make the most of their views of the Atlantic coastline.
However, it has been mentioned by some estate agents in town, that many of the prestigious blocks of apartments, with good sea views, have unsold units because of the curfew on visa time for foreigners and the poor investment climate at present.
A point raised by the Swakopmund Resident’s Association, was that they foresee problems arising from the constant noise of traffic and delivery trucks rumbling through this otherwise peaceful residential area, adding that there will surely be repercussions from the homeowners.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015