Shoprite has been closed down in Claremont Main Road following plans to revamp the building as part of property development in the area.PHOTO: Nomzamo Yuku
Construction is expected to start in November this year.
According to the executive manager of the Claremont Improvement District Company (CIDC), Abdul Kerbelker, there has always been an imbalance in the appearance of the area between the side of Cavendish Square and the side where the Shoprite store used to be.
Due to the planned development, the store could not renew its lease and has closed.
A representative of the supermarket chain says in a statement: “Shoprite Claremont was closed at the end of July when its rental lease expired. The property is being redeveloped by the current owners. Shoprite continuously investigates new prospects for expansion and welcomes viable opportunities for new stores.”
The statement says all employees affected by the closure have been placed at other Shoprite stores close to where they live.
Kerbelker says: “The other side of Main Road, Claremont was always seen as the ugly stepsister of the Cavendish side of Main Road. The wave of developments along Main Road – of which the redevelopment of the old Shoprite building is included – follows the pattern where the desirability of a well-managed public transport interchange and infrastructure investment in Claremont Boulevard are still driving development along Main Road. The rentals achieved often had a 400% differential depending on which side of Main Road you were situated as a retailer or commercial enterprise.”
He says the new mixed-use development will see student accommodation and an active ground floor retail area. Among the targeted places is Werdmuller Centre, the Lewis building and the development of the building on the corner of Main Road and Draper Street.
He says the revamp of Claremont Main Road started about 10 years ago, but plans were delayed due to economic reasons.
“A slowdown in property developments, owing to recession in the building industry and institutional drag, saw a hiatus in development nationally and globally,” he says.
Kerbelker says the CIDC wants to see, from an urban design perspective, that the next public or even private investment to upgrade of Main Road should include a more pedestrian-friendly environment.
“The investment does not have to be massive but rather strategically making Main Road more pedestrian friendly by investing in thresholds and trees to slow cars on the road. Thresholds are essential in order to signal to pedestrians who walk along Main Road and who want to cross it that their need for accessibility has been recognised, and to motorists that that portion of Main Road is different as it is a shared space with pedestrians having priority at certain intersections.
“We have always had the goal of that part of Main Road being a place to go to, not simply a place to go through,” says Kerbelker.