The transformation of what used to be Molapo Crossing appears far from over. At every new offering, the promoters appear to raise the bar, with an eye to lure the affluent. ONTAMETSE SUGAR reports
Molapo Mall has evolved from being a Crossing into Piazza; lifestyle centre that serves the affluent and classy day and night. The offerings in the stylish mall have increased from basics to meet the expectations of modern shopper with a taste for finer things and quality entertainment to go with.
Nothing is a coincidence or taking place by chance. Things, the owners say, are going according to plan. Molapo Piazza Managing Director Luc Vandecasteele sat down with this publication to share his dream of making Molapo different from other malls. Exclusivity has been the stock in trade for the promoters of the mall. Vandecasteele says they always wanted to have unique things, where someone would know that what they want they can only find at Molapo and nowhere else. Last year the piazza opened the 5-aside football pitch which has proven to be a hit - from professional football players themselves to the corporates and just about everyone who wants to have a good time, which has seen the establishment of many teams.
He says when they started the renovations they actually thought that they will be finished by now. He refers to the entertainment part of the mall as having been experimental from his side since they were looking for ways to revamp the mall. Vandecasteele says they wanted it to complement the shopping centre, confirming that the 5-aside pitch has been doing well even beyond their expectations because there can never be a day without a competition or soccer tourneys. He says they are also looking at expansion options because it definitely has achieved what it was set up to do. He says they have been asked to build a complete soccer pitch, but are still looking into that because it needs a chunk of land. “We are to meet with the council in order to talk to them about having public private partnership in order to be allowed to use the land around us which is owned by the council,” he says. He says they have also been approached by the gym that they have on whether they can consider having a sports hall. He says these are the things that they have to think about because they need space and at the same time the businesses have to be viable. He says they want the gym to have the edge over other competitors.
He says the skateboarding area will be completely refurbished and they will engage someone to manage it in order to make the skating safer and controlled since it is a dangerous sport. A skating shop will also be added there. About the entertainment area Vandecasteele says though they have held concerts so far, they have never had the one that is for about 4000 people because the toilets and the corridors have not yet been completed. However, all will be complete and they will be ready to host bigger shows. About 36 toilets are being finished in order to cater for the revellers. He says they have entered into a partnership with Botswana Society for the Arts to give local artists the platform to show their creativity and do their work at the mall which on its own is also a creative masterpiece. “We are trying to attract arts here. We would give local artists the platform and they will sell their artworks at any restaurant that is in Molapo,” he says. There is also a VIP room that can host 120 guests with a provision for changing and freshening up for those hosting shows. He says they want to transform part of the nine hectares land around them into a zoo to complete the centre stand as an all-round place where families can all come together and for different people to meet. Through Thapong Visual Arts Centre and Botswana Society for the Arts partnership they intend to buy many statues to strategically place around the mall.
He challenges Batswana to be more creative and do things that stand out from the crowd, and desist from being copy cats. There are many unique things that Batswana should venture into, and Molapo can be the one to house those because they house unique things like a violin shop.