Commercial development of smaller towns : a comparative study of the planning and legislative principles for shopping centres in Bethlehem
Labuschagne, Janette Jemima
MetadataShow full item record
The general body of academic knowledge on the commercial development of smaller towns is in its infancy. Yet its inherent potential is well perceived from a development and market perspective. Shopping centre development could have an important function in getting products and services to the marketplace in an economical way. Furthermore, it could have a very significant socio-economic impact in the central business district (CBD). Although such a shopping centre will surely create new businesses, employment and production opportunities for local businesses it is of importance to first determine the financial viability and impact of the new development on existing businesses. Developers and researchers often approach the subject of shopping centre development from different perspectives. The research output is often of limited impact as the critical link between demographical analysis and financial viability is not made. Researchers are usually excluded from the physical establishment, rental structures, tenant mix, design, cost of construction, return on investment, funding and future management of the proposed new shopping centre project. Linking demographic assessment and financial viability is a critical output of this study. Bethlehem and its district are quite unique in a number of ways, especially regarding the presence of a large farming community. Bethlehem provides goods and services to residents of Bethlehem, Clarens, Kestell, Harrismith, Heilbron, Paul Roux, Petrus Steyn, Reitz, Senekal and Warden. The main shopping activity occurs in the CBD of Bethlehem and its surrounding areas. Bethlehem only has one major shopping centre (the Metropolitan Centre) that provides goods and services for the people in the surrounding area. This causes an over concentration in the CBD and too much traffic in an already limited space. There is a high need for Bethlehem to provide a bigger shopping centre for the citizens of the town, as well as the surrounding areas. This study investigates the need for a new shopping centre in Bethlehem and will determine whether a new shopping centre will be viable within the area. The empirical study revealed that approximately half of the respondents are not satisfied with the current shopping centres in Bethlehem. A greater amount of respondents felt that the shopping centres do not offer enough parking. The study revealed that, from a consumer point of view, there is definitely a need for a new shopping centre in Bethlehem and that there is a gap of approximately 12 892m² GLA (Gross leasable area). However, this was determined before the opening of the new Dihlabeng Mall. The Dihlabeng Mall occupies 24 142m², therefore an oversupply is already taken place.