Local developer Rob Beer has decided to shelve his plans of building a shopping centre behind Clicks and Woolworths. Beer has been building an upmarket mall next to Pepper Grove Mall called the Plum Tree Mall since the end of June this year. Earlier in the year, Mark Shelton, co-owner of Pick n Pay took Beer to court about his proposed plan to build a SuperSpar in Plum Tree Mall.
Local developer Rob Beer has decided to shelve his plans of building a shopping centre behind Clicks and Woolworths. Beer has been building an upmarket mall next to Pepper Grove Mall called the Plum Tree Mall since the end of June this year. Earlier in the year, Mark Shelton, co-owner of Pick n Pay took Beer to court about his proposed plan to build a SuperSpar in Plum Tree Mall. After losing the case, Beer subsequently purchased part of the property behind Clicks and Woolworths, planning to build the Superspar there. However, Makana Municipality co-owns part of the same property.
"I investigated the possibility of constructing the supermarket on the properties behind Clicks but realised there were numerous hurdles I would have to cross and believed that due to my past experience with the municipality, the risk was too high," said Beer.
Grocott’s Mail reported on the dispute involving Beer and Shelton surrounding the exclusion of a SuperSpar in the Plum Tree Mall. "There were fundamental errors by the municipality in the process and it cost me," he said. Beer revealed to Grocott’s Mail that he lost about R3-million in the process.
“I looked at relocating the SuperSpar to that area but the thought of going through the rezoning process again made me nervous,” says Beer. “It was too high risk and that’s my honest assessment.”
Thandy Matebese, the municipal communications officer confirmed that the municipality did not receive an application from Beer to rezone the area as a supermarket. Matebese says that in general not all applications to rezone are approved by the council. Experts are called in to evaluate each application and then make recommendations to council. If a potential developer is dissatisfied with the council’s response, "I’m sure there are other avenues a developer could look into," he said.
Beer is now looking into extending the current building in which Woolworths is housed so that he can move Clicks into the new renovated building. But he is still waiting for the management of the two stores to give the go-ahead. "Woolworths needs more space to incorporate a Woolworths Food because there is a great demand in Grahamstown for that," he said. When he gets the green light he plans to build a secure parking lot in the area which should be ready in the first half of next year in time for the National Arts Festival.
In the meantime, he is looking for another site to move SuperSpar into, an area “with less complications.” He said that at the moment he is looking at the CBD but he would like to position it near the township.
The Plum Tree Mall is scheduled to be complete by the end of March next year, with some shops being handed over to the tenants later this month. The proposed businesses for the mall include a drive-thru KFC, Mr Price Home and eight smaller shops.