From fashion, grooming services and biltong, to food for the hamster, a toy for a toddler and fresh fish for dinner, residents of Richmond and surrounds will have all their shopping needs catered for when Richmond Corner opens on 23 July. When it comes to convenience and easy access it doesn’t come much better than this – a prime corner spot in Atterbury’s new Richmond Park development, at the corner of Plattekloof and Tygervalley Roads alongside the N7 freeway in the Western Cape. Atterbury is rolling out the multibillion Rand Richmond Park mixed-use development on behalf of the shareholders Old Mutual Properties, the Richmond Park Communal Property Association (CPA) as well as Qubic 3 Dimensional Property, Bethel Property, Atlantis and Atterbury.

We spoke to Atterbury’s head of development in the Western Cape, Gerrit van den Berg, to get the low-down on the grand opening…

Residents of the area must have been very annoyed that the much anticipated centre was so close to opening and then had to be mothballed temporarily until Level 3 allowed construction again! What was still left to be done when you resumed?
Yes, that was unfortunate. We were literally four weeks away from opening when lockdown began. We had to do final work on the external works (parking area, landscaping, fences). The last 30 days before opening is when you normally have the most frantic activity as all the shops are busy with their shopfitting and stocking of the shops. I do enjoy this period the most as the energy and anticipation of a centre opening is tangible.

The centre is fully let for its opening on 23 July… how many shops in total, and what are the anchor tenants?
There are 20 stores, with Woolworths, Pick n Pay and Clicks as the anchor tenants. All of these will be opening on the 23rd, bar the new Pick n Pay Liquor store, which remains closed as per lockdown regulations.

Is this not Atterbury’s first new South African mall opening since the beginning of lockdown? What are you doing differently as a result of the unusual circumstances?
Correct. A bit unusual. We didn’t do any print ads for instance. All marketing is digital, radio, and social media. No ads or flyers. Sadly, we can’t have our traditional site braai before opening with the consultants’ teams and the contractors. There will be no big opening function and speeches in masks… the new normal!

What special activities are planned for opening day?
Opening day kicks off with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 9am, and given the significance of this development in the light of its land restitution history, various dignitaries and representatives from the Western Cape government will be present. There will be various other festivities, which will be carried through on the first three Saturdays, 25 July, 1 August and 8 August. These will include activations such as a popcorn and candyfloss machine stationed in the centre dispensing treats for shoppers; a balloon modeller roaming the centre entertaining the young at heart; a lively giveaway station where customers will be encouraged to enter the competition and where branded face masks will be handed out. There will also be live entertainment.

In your personal opinion, what is the best thing about this new centre?
It is really conveniently located with great access. It is probably the centre with the best access that I have ever been involved in. And the tenant mix is great, satisfying most of one’s everyday needs.

What kind of response have you had from the community in anticipation of the opening?
People are very excited; especially for the Woolworths Food, the new takeaway brands and proper coffee. Personally, we can’t wait to have meetings in the new Vida E!

With Richmond Corner open, I am sure you will see increased demand from tenants in the rest of the development. What is currently happening in Richmond Park; what are the latest developments?
The centre is definitely a big positive to the rest of the offering. Richmond Corner solidifies Richmond Park as the premier industrial park on the N7 corridor. There is currently a lot of activity on site with ACDC, Sequence Logistics as well as Aramex warehouses currently under construction. The new Scoop building will also be completed in the next week. We are busy on a few other prospective deals as well, watch this space for details.