The R52 million retail development known as Village Walk in Atterbury, east of Pretoria, has been hailed for creating jobs in the City of Tshwane.

Tshwane mayor Cilliers Brink said: “The city welcomes this new development. The area offers shopping, restaurants, arts and will help the city’s economy and provide job opportunities.”

Recently opened to the public, Village Walk connects two of Atterbury’s already successful retail precincts in the suburb of Hazelwood.

The two retail precincts are the Village – an eclectic food, drink and leisure hub – on 16th Street and The Club, which sits between Hazelwood and Dely Roads.

Its opening was also marked with a variety of fun activities, including give-aways, a photo wall and GrootFM broadcasting from the vicinity.

The Village Walk precinct. Picture: Supplied

The development introduced 1 495m² of new gross lettable area of which 595m² will be restaurants, 900m² retail and additional parking bays.

Atterbury group chief executive, Louis van der Watt, said: “What we have achieved with Village Walk is more than just another retail project – it highlights the importance of creating quality urban environments. It is a celebration of the unique personality of the Old East Precinct, and an encouragement to shoppers to use and enjoy that environment, rather than just passing through it.”

One of the shops at the Village Walk. Picture: Supplied

He said Village Walk offers users an enhanced experience with the addition of a new restaurant, two cafés and several niche retailers.

The aim of the project has been to create a connected urban retail experience with unique appeal in this popular location.

The project fits into a greater master plan to connect the shops and restaurants within the precincts via attractive open-air pedestrian routes, allowing patrons to experience the characterful urban surroundings.

The heart of Village Walk is the pedestrian walkway linking The Village to The Club.

Aside from linking the various components, the public pedestrian route offers a journey in itself – featuring seating areas, courtyards between the buildings, and public art.

The broader Old East Precinct is collectively made up of The Village, The Club retail centre, Die Klubhuis and Club One office buildings, The Club Surgical Centre and the Advocate Chambers.

In contrast to the ultramodern shopping environments of the malls, Village Walk is a celebration of public space, art and curated experience, inspired by the unique personality of the neighbourhood.

In linking Village and Club precincts, the design style makes reference to both, blending inspirations from the two but with the final product having its own character.

The composition of Village Walk’s spaces affirms the value of public art in public spaces.

The main courtyard along the walkway features exquisitely crafted bronze rhino calf statues, created by artist Angus Taylor, as a key focal point.

The sculptures evoke the kind of humility and peculiarity that Taylor finds in his more frequent subject matter (domestic animals such as donkeys), and are a poignant reminder that these creatures now depend on man for their continued survival.

The Village Walk project acts as the final piece in a puzzle, decisively knitting together the different parts of the Old East Precinct with a design, tenant mix and overall user experience that sets it apart from other offerings.