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#IntheSpotlight

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In conversation with RNS leasing specialists – Antonio Agostinelli & Wisani Mothembi

 

“It’s essential that you’ve done your research on a retailer and are very well-informed about their offering before making contact.”

It’s been said that multitasking isn’t actually multitasking. It’s just extreme focus and organisation. For Antonio Agostinelli, retail leasing specialist, and Wisani Mothembi, leasing assistant, at Retail Network Services, focus and organisation are non-negotiable. When you’re working on leasing retail space in more than one new shopping centre development at a time, these skill-sets are critical to your success. As is working as a team. Antonio and Wisani have ‘nailed’ the art of operating as two sides of the same coin, and it shows in the leasing results they are achieving.

 

In spite of a busy schedule – they are currently working on iTonka Square and Leratong City - they found time to answer some questions about their work.

Describe a typical day in the life of a leasing executive and assistant at RNS.


ANTONIO: I like to get an early start, so I typically get to the office around 07h00. I check my schedule for the day and reply to any mails that need attending to. Once I’ve done this, I prepare for any meetings (project, leasing updates or client meetings). I typically give myself an hour a day to run through each leasing plan I’m working on and identify any gaps. I then set to work to search for new potential tenants and make contact. I close the day by checking industry news and identifying any new retailers or centres I should visit. In between it all, follow-ups, concluding deals and attending project meetings are very much part of my day.


WISANI: As leasing assistant I have dozens of emails to get through each day. I set up meetings with prospective  retailers and restaurant operators that we are interested in talking to about space in a new retail development, and I attend these meetings with Antonio. We spend time together on strategic planning, studying our leasing plans for each centre. I do a lot of cold-calling, and each day there are administrative tasks and follow-ups.


How do you psyche yourself up to approach prospective tenants? 


ANTONIO: It’s essential that you’ve done your research on a retailer and are very well-informed about their offering before making contact. I’ll visit any existing stores they may have, and we’ll research the business online as much as we can. If we trust that they will add value to a centre we’re working on, then that gives one the motivation to make the first call. 

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Wisani Mothembi, leasing assistant, and Antonio Agostinelli, retail leasing specialist

WISANI: You also need to have a positive mindset, visualising success and celebrating ‘wins’ no matter how small they are - they give you the confidence to make that next ‘cold-call’, especially if I am initiating contact with tenants who may not be actively seeking to open new stores.

 

Because of your work do you find you are constantly ‘switched on and alert’ to new retailers?

ANTONIO: Without a doubt. I always find myself looking around when I’m in a mall and walking into shops that I’ve never seen or heard of before in order to explore them.

WISANI: Absolutely, and add to that, we keep on top of retail trends so that we know what to look out for.
 

What part of the job thrills you the most?
 

ANTONIO: Getting an offer I wasn’t expecting! There are so many people that promise the moon and you never hear from them again, and then there are those that are hesitant and deliver the stars! I can’t contain my excitement when a shopping centre I have leased, finally opens and I know I played a huge part in the process. The joy is truly palpable!


WISANI: I like being part of building communities, creating jobs and seeing small businesses grow.
 

How do you unwind after a tough day?


ANTONIO: I’m still trying to figure that part out!


WISANI: Watching a good movie or series definitely helps me to relax. 

April 2024

Hebron Mall’s Phase 2 opens

 

Hebron Mall, which is located 30km north-west of the Pretoria CBD, opened its Phase 2 extension on 20 March 2024. It introduced its customers to a further 7,000m² of exceptional retail, adding even greater appeal to this popular mall. Retail Network Services strategised the tenant mix, signing up 24 new retailers, banks and eateries including, amongst others, a 2,355m² Superspar, 4 full-service banks, additional branded fashion and a community favourite – Nando’s. The Queen Mother of the local Bakwena Tribal Authority cut the ribbon to declare Hebron Mall’s Phase 2 officially open.

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The duo behind Town Square at Newmarket’s exciting retail line-up

“We have lined up exceptional tenants – from fashion outlet stores to everyday convenience, and from stunning restaurants and
coffee sho
ps to some great destinations for the young crowd.”

Eugene Potgieter and Kimeko Maritz, two of RNS’s highly experienced leasing specialists, have together been responsible for the leasing of Town Square at Newmarket, the 35,000m² new lifestyle shopping centre opening in the busy Newmarket precinct in Alberton this year. No-one understands better than this committed team the need to strike a fine balance between the expectations of a landlord, and those of prospective tenants. Additionally, Eugene and Kim appreciate that it is essential to be expertly informed about the market which a new centre is designed to serve,
and lease according to RNS’s expertly strategised tenant mix.


A skilled approach
“It takes between 18 and 24 months to conclude all the deals for a centre this size,” says Eugene, “and very thorough processes need to be scrupulously
followed and skilfully managed. Canvassing national and international brands is challenging and must be done timeously as their Capex budgets and roll-out strategy are determined well in advance.” Seeking out independent retailers to add a unique retail flavour to a tenant mix requires a different approach, and it’s a part of the job which Kim (as she is known by the RNS team) loves. RNS has a comprehensive database of potential retailers which can be consulted, and if that doesn’t deliver up the specific kind of store which she and Eugene are seeking, then they use their extensive
networks to hunt further afield, or “walk the streets” to find the bespoke retail talent they are looking for.


Creating retail appeal

“It’s tough work but it’s absolutely worth it to find the unusual smaller retailers who add so much to a shopping centre’s offering,” Kim says. “Finding the
perfect tenant for a particular space takes vision and persistence, plus you need a back-up in case your deal falls through.” One of the major drawcards of Town Square at Newmarket will be its food hub, consisting of handpicked eateries which will cater for a range of tastes – from steaks and burgers to seafood and tapas. “Town Square’s restaurants will be where families and friends come to eat out while enjoying a great vibe, and with Tiger’s Milk as part of our mix, the young crowd won’t be able to stay away,” Kim adds.


The ‘new’ Alberton CBD
Town Square at Newmarket is located in a precinct which includes an existing shopping and entertainment destination, as well as Makro, Builders
Warehouse, Virgin Active and the new, cutting-edge Netcare Alberton Hospital. “Our balanced combination of international, national and independent tenants in Town Square at Newmarket is fresh and modern,” says Eugene. “The centre will offer a wide range of categories including outlet fashion, homeware, furniture, health and beauty, restaurants, convenience and service-related businesses." Kim adds: “The tenant mix here is like no other in Alberton. We’re offering retail for the young and the young-at-heart, adding to the appeal and success of the ‘new’ CBD of Alberton. I am extremely proud and excited to be a part of this development. Seeing it all come together really makes all the hard work worth it!”


Let’s do it again!
And when the hard work is done? Kim will be enjoying downtime with family and friends, and Eugene will be watching rugby or listening to his favourite music – before the process starts all over again for this driven team, as they seek out exciting retail for another new RNS centre.

March 2024

MOMPATI MALL OPENS

 

Twin City's superbly designed Mompati Mall opened its doors to the people of Vryburg on 26 October 2023. It offers more than 22,000m² of top-quality retail, popular fast-food options and handy services. As the retail strategist and leasing specialist on the project, our congratulations go to all the retailers we've been dealing with over the past months. They have pulled out all the stops, with great store designs and merchandising. This regional community centre is a world-class project.

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INTRODUCING RONDEBULT SHOPPING CENTRE

July 2023: If you’re wondering what’s happening when you watch the video below or drive past a site bordered by Van Dyk and Heidelberg Roads in the Ekhurleni Metropolitan Municipality, here’s the answer: ground is being prepared for a 25,000m² community shopping centre. Retail Network Services and Stonesman Projects are delighted to announce the launch of Rondebult Shopping Centre, 25km south-east of Johannesburg’s CBD.
Its modern design and exciting tenant mix will make it the heart of this rapidly developing area.

 

Opens 2025

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JULY 2023 – Town Square at Newmarket  construction is progressing fast

 

Look what’s happening in Alberton.

This drone footage shows how the construction of Town Square at Newmarket (previously know as Newmarket Lifestyle Centre), a 35,000m² shopping centre in the fast-growing Newmarket Precinct, is moving ahead in leaps and bounds. Together with developers Rejem-Linton (Nedbank), in conjunction with Jonker Evolution, RNS is adding outstanding convenience retail as well as value fashion outlet stores and popular homeware retailers to the area’s retail offering. You’ll see the world-class new Netcare Alberton Hospital alongside the site. 

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Delivery Ka Speed @ Hebron Mall

 

A proudly township business is now operating at the newly launched Hebron Mall in North West : Delivery Ka Speed – a food delivery service carried out on e-bikes.

The owner and founder of Delivery Ka Speed is Godiragetse Mogajane who has been in business for just over a year.
The Delivery Ka Speed app hosts a number of restaurants that stay open during loadshedding in townships around Pretoria – including
Ham
manskraal, Mamelodi, Atteridgeville and Soshanguve. These businesses depend on Delivery Ka Speed to deliver their meals
– smokin’ HOT! Godiragetse is quoted in DRUM magazine as saying that he proudly wakes up every day to work for his riders and not the other way
around. “It’s literally God using me to have an impact on the young people that we work with. We’re building this business to change lives,” he
says. Delivery Ka Speed is now delivering for eateries at Hebron Mall in North West.

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