West Hills Mall: From the bare rubble of Dunkonah to magnificence

The West Hills Mall. Pictures: Douglas Anane-Frimpong

Sitting at the foot of the panoramic coastal hills of Aplaku and Bortianor, the West Hills Mall is Ghana’s newest and classiest shopping destination. It sprawls over 27,000 plus square metres, with accommodation for two massive stores, 60 line shops, a five-screen cinema and parking space for more than 1000 cars.

A walk through West Hills Mall offers a delightful array of fashion and lifestyle boutiques and grocery shops, against a backdrop of lavish decor. The diverse ensemble at this exclusive shopping hub makes for a truly cosmopolitan shopping experience.

What’s in the Mall?

There is a lot to do while strolling through West Hills Mall – window shopping and taking in styles by world famous designer labels and clothing stores, lifestyle gadgets, beauty and wellness products, electrical, electronics and telecommunications gadgets; banking, financial services; pharmaceuticals and consulting doctors; automobile, gifts and high value merchandise – and of course taking a bite at the already famous food court, with several continental, local and foreign restaurants.

The roll call of international brands include Edgars, Foschini, Mango, Woolworth and American Swiss, whose presence in South Africa is translated into a strong appearance in Ghana for the first time at the West Hills Mall.

Not to be left out of the competition, quite a number of Ghanaian brands are lined up at the mall, rubbing shoulders with the international brands. Sizzlers, Palace, Exotic Trends, Silverbird, Life Health care and Global Access Bank are part of the Ghanaian trade names championing the cause of local brands at the new mall.

Top-notch Ghanaian fabric and fashion labels – Nallem Clothing and Woodin, have a strong presence at the mall and are already in a head-to-head competition with the likes of Mango and Mrp.

An excited Supervisor of Nallem Clothing, Obaa Yaa, told the Daily Graphic that the prospects were high in their new location.

“It’s so far so good. We are seeing a lot of both buyers and window shoppers and indications are that the future looks bright here,” she said.

West Hills is certainly not just about shopping. When it’s time for a little breather, the best bet is to sample the fare at the food court nestled at the entrance, and that spreads out into the Open Square, while watching jets of water spattering from a fountain at the heart of the court. The gentle mix of the classic Western meeting with African heritage creates an ambience of romance and friendship that provides a social safe-haven for patrons.

A $93.5 million-investment, the West Hills Mall’s blueprint has been adjudged by industry experts as the biggest, single retail shopping facility in the entire West Africa sub-region.

It is the outcome of a Private-Public-Partnership – a joint venture made up of Delico Property Developments Limited and Social Security & National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), with Delico holding a 60 per cent stake in the project, while SSNIT has a 40 per cent share.

Delico, the developer, is an investment company incorporated in Mauritius and controlled by Atterbury Investment Holdings of South Africa. It is significant to note that the Atterbury Group two years ago, in collaboration with its investment partners, acquired an 85 per cent ownership in Accra Mall.

Arguably, West Hills Mall stands as one of the smartest investments initiatives SSNIT has taken in recent history.

For a country with relatively little to show for top-flight retail shopping and with the concept of modern shopping malls still a hatchling, the arrival of such a massive one-stop shopping facility, especially in the almost forgotten enclave of Accra West, is a major step in promoting modern retail shopping across Ghana.

Unique selling points

Any script on the growth of modern retail shopping and shopping malls in Ghana will be incomplete without a frank comparison between the pacesetter – the Accra Mall and the new giant on the block – the West Hills Mall.

The newly-opened West Hills Mall can hardly be relegated to second fiddle in stature. It is already about 30 per cent bigger in size than its predecessor and offers a string of innovative add-ons never before experienced in any retail shopping facility across the sub-region.

In the words of the Board Chairman of West Hill Mall, Mr Kofi Sekyere, “West Hills Mall is in a class of its own. Its diverse trading mix makes it a truly one-stop shopping facility and the fact that this mall brings retail giants such as Shoprite and Palace and other rare international brands (which were not previously present in Ghana) under one roof is a laudable feature.”

“Above all, no retail facility in the country can match the convenience offered by West Hills Mall’s space, the ease of access provided by the special interchange on the Mallam-Kasoa Highway and the massive parking capacity (well over 1,000 parking slots) of the mall,” he said.

Another endearing feature of West Hills Mall is its massive entertainment and recreational component. The mall has an arcade, with a special square for open-air rendezvous and theatrical shows.

It also has five ultra modern cinemas. Another thing Ghanaians may find fascinating about this Mall is the length to which the developers went to ensure that its design rendition, its layout and even its operation are in absolute harmony with local needs and attitudes.

Free traffic flow

Located on a road notorious for its traffic, there were fears that the new mall would further compound the gridlock, but a rather innovative partnership between owners of the Mall and the Ghana Highway Authority (GHA) has completely allayed those fears.

A special interchange, now nearing completion, which has been constructed across the highway at the expense of West Hills Mall – a component which is deemed as top priority, because it is designed to preserve the free and uninterrupted flow of motor traffic and guarantee the safety of pedestrians, who will traverse the Accra-Cape Coast Highway to access the Mall.

Transformation of Accra West

For an area which many people consider as not-so-juicy when it comes to property ownership in Accra, the mall has transformed not just the outlook of the immediate locality, but the entire Accra West.

The impact of a world class mall on popular culture and the social lifestyle of the city of Accra, and primarily, of the western sector of the capital and its operational area are immeasurable.

Additionally, it is believed that the West Hills Mall will facilitate the rapid expansion and improvement of the service industry by introducing services such as banking, telecommunication, entertainment and a variety of other social services – which are presently lacking in the western part of Accra.

source : graphic.com.gh