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23rd Aug 2022

Architect Africa Online

Africa's Leading Architecture Aggregator

Boardwalk Mall appoints three Gqeberha locals to lead its management team

• Solomzi Nqweni will serve Boardwalk Mall as its new general manager
• Kirsti Dolinschek is the new marketing manager for Boardwalk Mall
• Tony van Goeverden brings his 15-years of experience at Boardwalk as operations manager

Boardwalk Mall in Gqeberha, Eastern Cape, officially opening on 22 September 2022, has appointed three Gqeberha locals in key positions on its new management team. Boardwalk Mall is a major development by Flanagan & Gerard Group and Emfuleni Resorts, a subsidiary of Sun International (JSE: SUI), that is set to take shopping and entertainment in Gqeberha to new heights.

The R500-million project builds on the success and strong community roots of the landmark Boardwalk Casino and Entertainment World. Boardwalk Mall is an extension and upgrade of the Boardwalk Precinct, which is more than doubling its retail space to 23,000sqm. Construction on the first phase of a 17-hectare development began in May 2021.

Gqeberha born and bred Solomzi Nqweni is the mall’s new general manager. Solo first visited Boardwalk as a youngster and fell in love with the theatre of the precinct. He started his career as a professional cricketer, representing the local Eastern Province and Warriors Cricket teams. Solo has also gained outstanding business credentials. He has worked in investment banking at Investec, business operations at DEKT Holdings and spent a year at Flanagan & Gerard learning the ropes of the retail property business.

“PE is called the friendly city for a reason; its people are generally honest and hard working. I’m excited to be around this team, to be part of building such an amazing project together, and to share it with everyone in September. The city has never had a precinct and shopping experience like this – it is completely new. We have many ideas bouncing around that we’d love to bring to life, so be ready for some wonderful surprises,” says Solo.

Kirsti Dolinschek, Boardwalk Mall’s marketing manager, hails from a Gqeberha family. She completed her BCom Honours in Business Management at NMMU (UPE) in 2005 and moved back to the city in 2016. Kirsti has gained diverse experience in an impressive progression of marketing, promotions and communications roles, most recently as Retail Marketing Manager, Greenacres Shopping Centre. She has been visiting the original Boardwalk since 2004 for fun and entertainment and watched in excitement as the new Boardwalk began evolving in 2021.

“The opportunity to influence change in the local community and support local businesses as part of the Boardwalk Mall management team is genuinely exciting. When it launches in September 2022, Boardwalk Mall will be a catalyst that puts Gqeberha on the map as a national and international tourism destination. It will transform the beachfront into a sporting and entertainment hub, not only for the city but hopefully SA. Locals are going to love the convenience and access to great national and local brands – on their front doorstep!” says Kirsti. She adds that Summerstrand and its surrounding areas have needed a full-service convenience mall for the longest time.

Anthony van Goeverden is a qualified EL&P electrician who has lived in the area all his life and loves it. He has been part of the Boardwalk team for 15 years and, as maintenance and engineering manager, has been involved to some extent with the demolition and rebuilding of the mall so far.

“The quality of the people working on the new Boardwalk Mall is exciting and stimulating. When it officially opens in September, shoppers are going to love its amazing design and, of course, the tenant mix,” says Tony.

The Boardwalk Mall philosophy is all about keeping it local, explains Paul Gerard, MD of Flanagan & Gerard. “We employ local people and contract local supplier companies wherever possible. Our new management team hit the ground running in March 2022. They certainly have their work cut out for the official opening on 22 September 2022. By beginning now, they’ll get a head start learning the processes, building relationships and tackling the extensive launch preparations. We believe that when it comes to managing a shopping centre, it’s as much about the attitude of the team as the skills, and the new Boardwalk Mall team has heaps of both.”

As locals, the team bring their passion for the community and city to the management of the mall. “We are committed to supporting local schools, businesses and community bodies in Summerstrand and beyond, to further the growth and development of Gqeberha and its friendly people,” says Solo.

As individuals, Boardwalk Mall’s team members are part of many diverse aspects of community life in Gqeberha. Solo loves reading, gaming and gyming, and actively raises awareness around a rare auto-immune disease called Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) and how it has impacted his life. Kirsti is an avid runner with 32Gi PE, full-time mom and keen supporter of local businesses and charities. From a small beach house outside Gqeberha, Tony embraces his passions in a way that few other places in the world would allow – he surfs, scuba dives, sport and spear fishes, cycles and adventure bikes.

With six months to go until Boardwalk Mall’s official opening on 22 September 2022, the development is comfortably on track to open complete and fully let. Currently, only around 2% of the mall’s gross lettable area is available to let, with 90% secured and the rest under negotiation.

Boardwalk Mall’s first small batch of retailers are opening this month (March). They include NuMetro, Magic Company, Urban Roti, Legends Barbers, Heylo, Boardriders, Hello! It’s Me., Ripcurl, Paco Taco, Tech and Sound, Larpelo Eyewear, Famous Bean Café, Steers, Debonairs and Fishaways, Friesland, Bem Vindo, and Capitec ATM. Many of these tenants are local independent retailers.

“This is the first taste of Boardwalk Mall’s exciting tenant mix that represents the city’s culture and people. We look forward to seeing these local traders form part of the cornerstone of this mall, and we believe this will happen through their growth and successful trading over time. We will be here to support them every step of the way,” says Solo.


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