27Boxes Melville Mall

WORDS Zama Nkosi via MBlife.co.za

The trend of using eco-friendly and inexpensive shipping containers as business hubs is growing. Now they’re being used to create a contemporary shopping centre in Melville.

Property management company Citiq, known for converting the Newtown grain silos into student accommodation, has embarked on a journey that will change the face of shopping malls. Its new project, called 27Boxes, will be located in Melville, a Joburg suburb known for its arty and vibrant atmosphere.

27Boxes will be 2 400sqm of contemporary retail space built from 63 shipping containers and will house up to 78 shops.

Part of the excitement of 27Boxes is the affordable rentals. At just R2 000 a month, small business owners and boutique businesses will no longer feel excluded from a “mall” experience.

“Affordable shop space geared towards the needs of small entrepreneurs, artists, creative people and food lovers, 27Boxes will provide an ideal environment to attract shoppers and encourage visitors to linger and enjoy what’s on offer from the eclectic mix of tenants,” says Citiq CEO Paul Lapham.

This innovative space will house an art gallery and studios, a couturier, a bakery, a micro-brewery, a furniture manufacturer, a restaurant and a coffee shop, as well as a boutique garden centre, a kiddies’ playground, walkways and an amphitheatre. There will be permanent shops but management will encourage pop-up shops too. This means the vibe and offering of the centre will forever be changing, making for a unique shopping experience. Plus there will be parking – 200 bays to be precise.

As Lapham says, international cities have long used shipping containers as pop-up malls and temporary exhibition stands. Box Park in London and a retail park in Christchurch, New Zealand are just two examples. The 27Boxes shopping experience promises to spearhead the revival of Melville as an interesting and preferred destination for shoppers.

27Boxes is scheduled to open in April 2015.

For more information, visit 27boxes.co.za