The Ridge thumbnail picThe Ridge Magazine,
May 2007.

Centre Management Robyn Renzow says initially The Crescent was conceived as a value centre and the design and architectural finish industrial and rough. Over the past few years centre owners Siyathenga Properties have cemented The Cresent’s position within the Ridge and the revamp will create the platform from which to launch the future vision.

The anticipated four month renovation will pay close attention to aesthetics and to forging an overall identity for the centre. Previously tenants have had free rein in designing and displaying their signage, often blocking window shop fronts as a result, while directional information signage throughout the centre has been poorly lacking.

The revamp will eradicate these problems by designing space above the shop fronts for uniform signage and display areas. Project architect Gina Walker from Sphere Design says the vision creates legibility within the centre from approach to departure by “speaking the same language”. The experience is meant to enhance the confidence and comfort with which shoppers carry out their business.

Sphere Design is working on the project in conjunction with Walker Smith Architects. Christmas trading figures reflect the success. The Crescent has experienced since opening, December 2006 saw more than 160 000 cars parking in the centre – a 23% growth in that experienced the previous year. Renzow says this translates into 5200 cars daily that used the centre and the revamp will consequently focus on those areas that “have taken a beating”.

These include the paving, landscaping particularly within the parking area, bathrooms, signage and the entrance area to the inside section. Investment will concentrate on upgrading the finishes and paying attention to detail like bollards, lights, tiling and louvers. Although critical to the essential feel of the centre, in reality the open walkways have been detrimentally exposed to the elements. Hence, a steel cladding extention will be constructed over the walkways to offer greater protection while retaining the light and benefits of a shop fronted centre. Walker says the renovation will offer an architectural freshness to The Crescent by introducing colour’s, textures and contrasts. An increase in graded lighting will eliminate dark patches and enhance the comfort and experience for shoppers. Hence, from mid-year visitors can anticipate bursts of burnt orange, grey, biscuit and white panels. The array of textures will incorporate the sense of touch via the innovative use of louvers, natural stone, porcelain, timber, steel and plantings.

The Crescent inside pic

“One critical element involves creating pause areas among the car parking area to eliminate the sensation that this is only a functional area in which shoppers park their cars while conducting their business”, she says.

Expect to begin in mid-April after the Easter period, centre management Pangboume Properties has strategically planned the revamp to limit the disruption to tenants and shoppers. Renzow says the centre is currently 95% let with the tenant mix being destination focused. Included amoung the tenants is a large band of national retailers conducting their business alongside specialist stores. Pangboume was strategically fine-tuning the tenant mix and this investment also provides the opportunity to concentrate on shop windows and standardise frontage and signage. “The Crescent has identified itself in the market as a convenience centre and the revamp will bring this element more specifically into the limelight” she says.