Fortress REIT says the first phase of its White River Crossing development, a retail and leisure centre near the Kruger National Park, is nearing completion and is on course for its scheduled opening on 22 August.
“We started our earthwork in the middle of last year and construction has really gained momentum which puts us on course for a successful opening towards the end of August,” says Izak Kriel, an asset manager at Fortress. “This centre is aimed at both local residents from all walks of life as well as the numerous tourists who visit the area as well as the nearby Kruger National Park.”
The first phase of the 10,300m2 development located at the intersection of the R40 that leads to Hazyview and the R537 to Sabie will have a C-shape layout with ample parking facilities and a restaurant section clustered around an open air piazza with several water features.
White River Crossing is 51% owned by Fortress with the remaining 49% stake owned by three local families. The construction of the centre was contracted to iKotwe Construction, a local company that was established in 1992. Fortress has capacity to add a further 5,000m2 to 7,000m2 of retail space in the second phase of the development should the demand for additional space materialise from a suitable anchor tenant.
“For the moment we are concentrating on the first phase but if we sign a sizeable anchor tenant that requires big box space, we could move quickly to accommodate them,” says Kriel. “We’re already in discussions with possible tenants and if we get them signed on as anchor tenants then that would trigger us to start developing further.”
The economy of White River, which is located just north of Mbombela in Mpumalanga, is based largely on tropical fruit and nut farming as well as tourism thanks to its proximity to the Kruger National Park.