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Central Square opened at the Menlyn Maine district in Tshwane on Wednesday, signalling confidence in the Menlyn node.

The R1.8bn mixed-use Central Square takes up 65,000m² in the heart of the 315,000m² Menlyn Maine decentralised green city mega-development.

Menlyn Maine is SA’s first green, mixed-use city precinct. As a partner of the Clinton Climate Initiative, it is one of 16 green “cities’ being built in various countries, and the only one in Africa.

In line with Menlyn Maine’s sustainability benchmarks, all buildings in the precinct must achieve a minimum rating of 4 Green Star SA by the Green Building Council of SA. The developers are also targeting a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Neighbourhood Development certification, a US standard, for the precinct.

Central Square has achieved a Green Star SA custom mixed-use rating, the first retail development to receive the rating from the Green Building Council of SA.

Central Square is co-owned by joint investors Menlyn Maine Investment Holdings and the Government Employees Pension Fund represented by the Public Investment Corporation.

Henk Boogertman, the architectural director of Menlyn Maine Investment Holdings, said the mall would attract more people to the growing node of Menlyn.

“Many of Central Square’s retailers and restaurants are like-minded in prioritising sustainability, including our large grocery stores, Spar, Pick n Pay, and Woolworths. With sustainability leaders coming together in a single green city, Central Square has become an exciting platform for collaborative environmental innovation.

“This has exponential positive impacts. People can shop, dine and unwind at Central Square in full confidence that by choosing Menlyn Maine for everyday activities they are being kinder to our fragile planet while enjoying a world-class experience.

“The design of Central Square articulates the Menlyn Maine vision to create a modern urban precinct, where everything is right on one’s doorstep and people can live full, balanced, responsible and exciting lives in a well-secured environment,” Boogertman said.

The next major development for the node is the extension of Menlyn Park shopping centre, which will become the largest shopping centre in Africa, usurping Durban’s Gateway Theatre of Shopping.

It will also be larger than its Gauteng neighbours, the iconic Sandton City and the recently opened Mall of Africa.

Menlyn Park, owned by private company Pareto, is being extended by 50,000m² at a cost of R2bn, including refurbishments of parts of the centre. The super regional mall will measure 169,253m² by November, and contain some 500 stores.