Anchor store to move into Arnos Vale mall by October
The conversion of the old ET Joshua airport building into a shopping mall is currently ongoing, with one of the anchor stores for the mall, ACE 2, targeted to complete their move into the facility at the end of October.
Manager of National Properties Ltd, Hans King, who spoke with SEARCHLIGHT on Wednesday, September 2, notes that 55 to 60 applications from businesses interested in renting a space at the shopping mall have been received.
However, the selection process has not yet been undertaken.
“A facility where you can have a mixture, you have food, you have different shopping experiences, you will have some retail outlets, beauty products, clothing services,” King commented on the vision for the mall.
There will be two anchor tenants on either side of the mall: ACE (Coreas Hazells Inc) and another unnamed tenant. ACE 2 will occupy entirely what was once the Arrivals area of the airport.
The plan is to have seven stores of an area of approximately 450 sq ft per store, as well as two smaller stores of about 250 sq ft. An unnamed banking institution is intending to install an ATM machine and a small office. Where the restaurant once was on the upper level of the airport, the mall will also have a restaurant.
Additionally, on the side of the airport apron, on the same end as the restaurant, forming an L shape, there will be a new building.
“The bottom floor will be about 5000 sq ft – we have a client already interested in that – and then upstairs that new building we will have five or so food courts and a general seating area,” the National Properties Limited general manager summarized.
There is meant to be parking on the side of the runway as well as the existing parking that was used for the airport.
In terms of the existing building, “we’re not making too much external changes to the building, it’s really a lot of internal work what we’re doing. There will be some enhancement to the exterior, but the majority of the work is really internal,” King informs.
The gutting of the interior has been completed. Internal work on the ACE store has begun. “We have not started our internal works as yet on the rest of the existing building. We are expected to start those next week,” the manager revealed.
They are hoping that before the end of the year, the mall will be opened.
King explains that the financing for the project is in negotiation, but the work currently being completed; “we are financing from our resources.”
The idea to convert the old airport building to a shopping mall was born from a discussion by the Board of Directors of National Properties Ltd in 2019.
“National Properties has been placed in charge of the terminal building, the old airport, the lands and everything for some time, and basically it was costing us a lot for maintenance and we’re not really getting any revenues from it,” the manager relayed.
A proposal was made to Cabinet for the building to be used as a mall, and this was accepted. Since then, they have done the preparatory works, and are now moving into demolition and renovation.
The name that was proposed for the mall is the Joshua Centre, but a final determination is yet to be made.
ACE, an anchor tenant who be relocating ACE 2 and the Pharmacy to the building, has noted that they are excited.
Manager, Debbie Huggins revealed that the move will mean a bigger location and more parking for them.
“We’re not the only store out there so it’s a bringing together of a number of other business establishments,” who should complement each other, she also noted.
She commented, “it’s a lot more space for both ourselves and a bit more space too for the pharmacy.”
Furthermore, there will be a warehouse at their new location so that lumber, steel, cement, sheet rock, PVC fittings and other items may be stored there.
Therefore, a big difference between this and their current location in Arnos Vale is that customers would be able to pick up these items at the same place that they purchase them.
Huggins is hopeful that the store will be opened on time, and discloses that so far, they are on target to open when they want to, barring any unforeseen circumstances.
“We are looking at probably around the end of October,” she estimated.