Innovation, retrofitting, refurbishment, landscaping and spatial connections = Ferndale on Republic

Innovation, retrofitting, refurbishment, landscaping and spatial connections = Ferndale on Republic

Ferndale on Republic, previously known as the Brightwater Commons and the Randburg Waterfront before that, was initially created as a city waterfront development – a romantic notion in Johannesburg in the 1980s. The waterfront element was removed when it underwent a renovation and became the Brightwater Commons, which introduced landscaping and parks to the development as well as a flea market.

The Moolman Group has been instrumental in developing the new scheme, starting with the refurbishment of the existing cinemas into Kagiso Media’s new Urban Brew Studios. This project then served as a catalyst for the upgrading of the existing buildings as well as the addition of a new 27 000 m2 shopping mall. MDS Architecture was approached by the Moolman Group and asked to invigorate the development for the Ferndale on Republic Consortium (Moolman Group, PHG Group & Braam van Huysteen) and re-brand it as Ferndale on Republic. The new additions increase the total GLA to about 42 000 m2.

Sean Pearce, a partner at MDS Architecture, says that while some parts of the existing building will be retained, others will be demolished to allow for more efficient parking and to link it with the new enclosed mall. Landscaping will be a key design principle to soften the design and help integrate the old with the new.

We wanted to retain some of the nostalgia of a waterfront, as well as the greenery and landscaping. For this reason, greenery was used as a design ethos,” he says.

Randburg is experiencing rapid development. Ferndale on Republic has good access from both Republic Road and Hans Strydom with a quieter entrance via Cross Street into the neighbouring Ferndale. “We are trying to create a convenient, neighbourhood shopping centre providing a safe, family destination with feature lighting and pedestrian walkways, with creepers and living green walls. The large parking lot will be broken up by red brick paving and landscaped vertical screens, serving as a strong axial link,” he says. Pedestrians have much greater prominence and further design measures are being taken to soften the area.

The full development is expected to be completed by September 2019”

Large trees from the existing Brightwater Commons will be relocated to the main entrances to create strong focal points and connect to the past development.

The development will feature ‘green lungs’ around the perimeter where people can relax and enjoy a safe shopping environment. Ferndale on Republic will be a mixed use development with offices as well as large retailers such as Checkers & Pick n Pay and other national brands. Family restaurants and coffee shops will also be included throughout the new development.

Part of the existing mall attached to the waterfront/building will be incorporated into the new shopping centre mall and will have the feeling of an old railway shed or building. Red brick has been used to provide a warm contemporary aesthetic and the individual buildings create a village feel. “Shoppers will walk through the existing mall and then through into the new mall creating a special connection between new and old. We are working with existing structures and keeping high level windows but introducing new shop fronts and bulkheads. The retrofitting and refurbishment will create interesting interactions and spatial connections between the two structures,” says Pearce.

The interior will also include a lot of greenery to soften the spaces. Lighting and signage, floor tiling and paving will all contribute to a completely different experience.

Kagiso Media’s Urban Brew TV studios and phase 1 (refurbishment and construction of the first parking section) are currently underway and due to be completed in March and June 2019 respectively, with the full development expected to be completed by September 2019.

The co-owners are making a concerted effort to promote family retail again and for this reason, pubs will make way for Spur, Panarottis and other family orientated offerings.

Pearce believes that in its new form, Ferndale Mall on Republic has a romantic attraction. “It is an evolution that retains the good things associated with the development. The design is efficient but sensitive to the residential area adjacent to the site while taking advantage of accessibility and visibility from Republic Road,” he concludes.



Having initially entered the South African revenue generating parking market in 2013 and after four highly successful years of providing commercial property owners and landlords with world class vehicle and pedestrian access solutions to the parking and stadium event markets, SKIDATA are planning for further growth with a dual strategy to leverage the opportunities in the specific and respective markets of South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa as from 1 May 2017.

The SKIDATA management team: Bradley Lovell – Managing Director; Matome Ramphele – Financial Manager; Derek Morris – Head of Sales and Marketing; Bernhard Steindl – Service Manager and Trevor Fletcher – Area Manager, sub-Saharan Africa. –   Insert: Francois Cantin – Regional Manger, Coastal Sales

Francois Cantin, Coastal Sales




Trevor Fletcher, with over nine years of parking technology sales experience, with the last three being as the Head of Sales, Marketing and Project Implementation at SKIDATA South Africa, has been appointed Area Manager, sub-Saharan Africa.
Reporting directly to SKIDATA AG in Europe, Trevor has been tasked to increase sales to dealers, distributors and partners in countries outside of South Africa located in sub-Saharan Africa.
Derek Morris, with over 14 years of sales and marketing experience in the Southern African parking market – the first five years of which as the Sales and Marketing Director with a parking technology vendor and the last nine years as the head of Business Development and General Manager Sales at a leading parking management operator – has been appointed as the new Head of Sales and Marketing at SKIDATA South Africa.

Included in Derek’s sales team is Francois Cantin, Professional Coastal Sales, based in Cape Town. Cantin is also a highly experienced parking operator and is tasked with the sales effort in the coastal areas of Western and Eastern Cape, as well as KwaZulu-Natal.
Commercially supporting the new sales team is Bradley Lovell, who was appointed as Managing Director of SKIDATA South Africa in 2016. Lovell, despite his youthful appearance, is also a veteran of the South African parking market, having held various executive and directorship positions with two parking management operators for nearly 20 years.
Providing technical support to the sales team and directly to SKIDATA’s customers, is Bernhard Steindl who is the Manager, Services at SKIDATA South Africa and heads up the technical department. Steindl’s team provides project implementation, maintenance and service.
This dynamic and experienced team has a clear and special focus on clients with a service agreement, known as the “SKIDATA. Care Package”.
Watching the pennies and ensuring good corporate governance is Financial Manager Matome Ramphele, a qualified Chartered Accountant. Ramphele is currently studying towards his MComm (Taxation) and LLB Degree.

For further details on the changes at SKIDATA South Africa please do not hesitate to contact Bradley Lovell on +27 11 447 8698, or

SKIDATA parking and access management system, Ballito Junction Regional Mall

Know your retail dynamics and consumer markets!

Know your retail dynamics and consumer markets!

An excellent understanding of markets and consumers is vital for successful retail property investment, and this is true whether investing locally or abroad.

Stephan le Roux, Director of Growthpoint Properties Retail Division

(Image: V&A Waterfront)

This is the word from Stephan le Roux, Director of Growthpoint Properties Retail Division, who was recently part of a panel focusing on retail abroad, hosted by the KwaZulu-Natal chapter of the South African Council of Shopping Centres.

Growthpoint is the largest South African primary listed REIT and is well on its way to becoming a leading international property company. It provides space to thrive with innovative and sustainable property solutions in a diversified portfolio of 533 properties it owns and manages, including 473 properties in South Africa, 59 properties in Australia through its investment in Australian Stock Exchange listed Growthpoint Properties Australia and a 50% interest in the properties of the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town. It also owns a 26.9% stake in the €1bn property portfolio of London Stock Exchange Alternative Investment Market-listed Globalworth Real Estate Investment, the largest owner of office space in Romania.

Growthpoint has successful international investments in the office and industrial sector, but it has yet to enter the international shopping centre investment arena.

“Retail is much more than investing in bricks and mortar. It is one of the most difficult investments to make successfully,” explains Le Roux.

He adds that with the economy looking rather depressing in South Africa, the allure of offshore property investment is stronger than ever. However, he cautions that investing in malls and shopping centres abroad certainly isn’t simple or straightforward.

“The motivation behind many South African companies investing in property overseas is simple: the positive spread between yields and funding costs of properties in Eastern Europe – a real estate investment destination that has most recently become a favourite with South African property companies – and, to a lesser extent, in Western Europe, are significantly better than in South Africa,” notes Le Roux.

For a prime shopping centre in South Africa today, assuming you can get one, you are going buy at a 6% to 7% yield. However, you can develop in Eastern Europe for close to 9%. You can buy at yields slightly better than 7%. However, the real advantage is that you can fund your investment at rates around 2,5% to 3%. This creates a positive spread between the yield and cost of your capital.

This favourable dynamic does not exist in South Africa in the current market. Today, if you want to buy any decent retail property asset, you will have to subsidise the property income to the tune of about 2%. You effectively have to wait two or three years before the income from the property is equal to its cost of funding.

“Without a doubt, moving into other international markets can give listed property companies a great boost, especially during the first year of investment,” says Le Roux. However, he cautions that even with these benefits, it is vital to understand the dynamics in these foreign markets and know local consumers. Looking at an asset in isolation of these factors is a mistake.

He believes the property industry in South Africa still seems to be coming to terms with understanding its own consumer markets.

“There is a lot of data and analysis, but few seem to be able to get to the heart of it. Looking at shopping centres that have been coming up in South Africa, they are being developed on the back of research and surveys. All these centre’s sites should have been rated 70% or over to be successful, but many clearly aren’t successful,” points out Le Roux, referring to the oversupply of retail space and cannibalisation, which has become plain in some areas.

He also highlights that we have to accept, at some point, that South Africa is essentially fully developed for shopping centres. “There shouldn’t be a burning need to continue to develop,” stresses Le Roux.

Over development comes at a high price. The information coming out of the USA, for example, is dismal with 8,000 projected store closures during 2017. It is estimated that 30% of its shopping centres will close in the next five years.

“Retail is a dynamic and changing industry,” comments Le Roux.

When considering the rise in competition from e-commerce, Le Roux feels that we are perhaps fortunate that South Africa has huge logistical problems. However, in countries like the USA, with more efficient delivery systems, bricks-and-mortar retail has lost a lot of growth in consumer spend to the likes of Amazon.

“We are an industry that is under pressure, and we are going to remain under pressure. I think we are going to have to look elsewhere for new retail investments. The big question is where?”

While it isn’t easy to invest successfully in unfamiliar developed markets, it has also proven difficult to make retail developments work in emerging markets. This includes other countries in Africa and in India, even with their emerging market synergies and notwithstanding that South Africans have everything that it takes to deliver successful shopping centres in these markets.

Wherever retail property investment is focused, Le Roux emphasises that looking at the shopping centre asset alone isn’t enough to make a well-informed investment decision.

“You need to look at what happens around the asset, the habits, travel patterns, beliefs, and preferences of people in its catchment area,” reveals Le Roux. “There are so many intricacies that go into the success of shopping centres, and it is essential to be very careful and thorough when looking at unfamiliar markets, whether they are in another city, province or country.”


Township retail booms

Image: Dispatch Live

Wimpy will be opening its doors in Mdantsane, East London, for the first time in June 2017. (Images: Famous Brands)

Township retail booms

East London: Mdantsane’s first ever Wimpy restaurant among the growing list of brands investing

Forget a sluggish national economy. Township retail is booming as major brands invest amid stalled CBD and suburban growth.

One such case in point is in the Eastern Cape, where East London’s Mdantsane City Shopping Centre – the biggest retail node in Mdantsane – has entrenched itself as a hotbed of retail activity.

General manager Dean Deary said foot traffic had increased by 4% this year alone and that the 36 000 m2 mall had shown consistent year-on-year growth throughout its nine-year history and was now effectively fully tenanted.

“Mdantsane City turned nine years old in April and I am extremely proud to see the investment and buy-in of our local community that has helped the centre reach this milestone. We have one vacancy left, which has been offered to a prospective tenant.”

The success recently prompted Famous Brands to expand its investment by establishing the area’s first Wimpy restaurant, which is scheduled to open in June. The centre already boasts sister brand, Debonairs.

“This new addition will add to the already growing foot traffic and increased turnovers for our tenants, while delivering exciting, quality brands for our shoppers,” said Deary.

Mdantsane-born entrepreneur Sakhumzi Klassen is the driving force behind the Wimpy initiative. The 41-year-old franchisee, who has various business interests in the former township area, believes the Wimpy franchise is a tangible sign of growing investor confidence by big brands in Mdantsane.

“Mdantsane is a very interesting place, and I would like to see it reach the levels of other similar townships such as Soweto,” he said. “It is currently not at its rightful place socially, economically or from a growth point of view.”

Klassen said his latest venture would help to address this by creating 20 permanent jobs, with at least another five part-time openings depending on its stability and growth.

“We urge the community to come and support this business, as it will support more than 30 local families if you also consider the suppliers who will benefit from it.”

For Klassen, the arrival of a brand like Wimpy has been “a long time coming”, as there are what he terms “restro lounges” in Mdantsane but no fast food restaurants offering seated dining.

“Customers can look forward to an experience on par with, or even better than, any other Wimpy in the suburbs. The location of the restaurant within the mall is stunning and I’m sure customers are going to love it.”

Famous Brands’ managing executive for the Eastern Cape, Mark Hedderwick, said the Wimpy brand had evolved from a traditional “breakfast and burger joint” into a modernised, value-for-money restaurant with the addition of meat and chicken grills to the menu.

“Mdantsane Shopping Centre is without doubt the destination of choice for the local community, which affords us a great opportunity to ‘take the brand to the people’.”


Rebosis’ Baywest Mall celebrates robust growth

Rebosis’ Baywest Mall celebrates robust growth

Following our report last month on Rebosis Property Fund’s steady and consistent performance across its property portfolio, Shopping & Retail SA brings you a more in-depth report on the company’s Baywest Mall, whose strong performance indicates strong consumer appetite for larger shopping centres

As the Eastern Cape’s largest shopping and entertainment centre, Baywest Mall, marks its second birthday this month, its performance for owners Rebosis Property Fund suggests consumer appetites for super-regional malls are far from waning.

According to Rebosis Property Fund group marketing manager Deborah Bailey, the flagship mall for South Africa’s largest black-owned, listed property fund is living up to its tagline, “the pulse of the Bay”.

Growth indicators for the mall include:
• Consistent foot traffic year-on-year (seven million visitors in 2016)
• Total sales growth year-on-year over a comparable period of 16.0%
• Mall trading density (sales per m²) growth of 14.3% year-on-year over a comparable period, and
• Spend per head growth of 21% year-on-year over a comparable period

“Our data shows Baywest has been embraced by the region, with almost seven million visitors through our doors in 2016,” said Bailey, adding that the super-regional mall attracted not only residents of Nelson Mandela Bay (Port Elizabeth, Uitenhage and Despatch), but also brought out-of-towners into the city from as far afield as Plettenberg Bay and Grahamstown.

“These out-of-town shoppers would previously have visited the city intermittently, but now the mall provides a unique shopping and entertainment destination to warrant them travelling more frequently. Furthermore, once these visitors arrive in the Bay, they don’t just stop in at the mall but also conduct business elsewhere in the city, meaning that other businesses benefit from our presence,” said Bailey.

“On the whole, with a 91% occupancy rate by gross leasable area (GLA) – up from the 85% when we opened in 2015 – Baywest Mall is in a healthy state given the fact that it is just two years old and part of a larger precinct which is still in its developmental stage, and especially given the challenging macro-economic environment.”

During its two-year construction phase, the 90,000m² mall created employment for over 5 000 mostly local construction industry workers. Since opening on May 21, 2015, a further 2 000 permanent jobs have been created to staff the mall’s 250 outlets.

“Baywest creates direct employment for up to 2 000 Bay residents. This excludes the downstream economic benefits which the mall provides for the many service providers working with our tenants,” continued Bailey.

Baywest Mall general manager Troy Zunckel said the shopping centre has brought a variety of exciting new brands to the Nelson Mandela Bay region, covering entertainment, dining and retail.

“Such a shopping and entertainment experience was previously only accessible to Bay residents when they travelled to cities like Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town.”

Speaking on the filling of the mall’s vacant stands, he said: “We have strategic vacancies to let and we are constantly in discussions with key brands around those vacancies. It is important that we create the right tenant mix of local, regional and national brands which complement all our stores. If we relax our standards and fill our available space with tenants that do not fit our strategic mix, it would harm our existing tenants rather than complementing them.”

With regard to the coexistence of the mall in relation to other centres in the region, Zunckel said: “We believe Baywest is fulfilling its role as a super-regional mall by supplementing – not cannibalising – trade at smaller shopping centres.”

Baywest had brought “fantastic new brands to the region, and created major employment opportunities”, he added.

“It has created a one-stop destination for leisure activities that were previously unavailable to local residents – such as an Olympic-size ice rink and the region’s only Ster-Kinekor IMAX and Cine Prestige movie theatres.”

Would SA retailers give up retail space to recycling?

The Changing Role Of Shopping Centres

Would SA retailers give up retail space to recycling?

By Reg Barichievy, Smart Waste

Question: how far will retailers go to satisfy the needs of their customers? Would they, for example, give up retail space for recycling? In Sweden they do; in South Africa I think that is still a long way off.
It is trite that shopping centres are constantly evolving to satisfy the needs of their customers. (In this case I refer to their customers as the consumers and not the tenants). A comparison with Sweden serves to illustrate where South African retailers sit on the progression from no recycling to optimum recycling.
“Sweden actually imports waste from the UK and Spain.”

Approximately 40 years ago, Sweden did not have a recycling culture and there were few recycling containers. Today Sweden is widely regarded as the gold standard for recycling with 99% of household waste being recycled – in 1975 this was 38%. Sweden actually imports waste from the UK and Spain amongst others, although this is incinerated to provide central heating.
How did Sweden achieve this – it was largely through education and developing a culture of recycling on the part of individuals.
It is common practice when finishing a meal in a restaurant to separate the food scraps, any plastic packaging and paper and styrofoam cups into separate, marked containers before neatly stacking the used dishes and cutlery in a tray holder. Failure to do so would draw immediate criticism from friends and other patrons. It is against their society’s norms.
Recycling is also made easy with recycling containers built in to every home, recycling rooms in every residential and commercial building and containers dotted around parks and public areas. There are recycling containers in shops, restaurants and on the public transport. One never has to look far to find a recycling container and they are clearly marked.
The interesting thing, though, is finding recycling machines in supermarkets. These are large machines which are accorded some prime space. Space in Sweden is expensive, proportionately way more expensive that South Africa’s retail space and yet the retailers think it important enough to sacrifice this space to a loss leader.

Such is the power of the consumer and so strong is the demand that the retailers have found ways of accommodating their needs. A typical shopping trip often starts with the consumer taking recyclable material in his shopping bags, depositing it into the recyclable machines and then returning home with groceries. It is obviously good business for the supermarkets to address this social need.

Where are South African retailers and shopping centre developers? Still a long way off. One leading supermarket chain has placed recycling containers at its entrance for several years but in the main these have not been used properly by consumers. There are recycling containers available in some public areas and on certain university campuses but again these are generally used sparingly and without much enthusiasm.
Recycling works where there is a champion who drives the education and develops the culture. Certain schools excel at this, teaching children from an early age and at the same time earning some income from the sale of the recyclables. Training and containers, recycling reports can all be provided but what is presently lacking is the recycling culture. This is a learned habit and takes time to establish.

Until the recycling culture is in place it would be unreasonable to expect any retailer to give up retail space to recycling – the problem lies with the consumer, not the retailer.

The specialised art of signage production

The specialised art of signage production

A company profile:

AE Plastics, masters of signage in the retail and petro-chemical space.

Seldom does one have the privilege of working with a group of people, or company, with such a deeply entrenched set of ethical standards, skills development programme for its own staff, close attention to customers’ needs and expectations, and a core staff of which many have over 20 years of service.

In February 2017 Shopping & Retail SA did indeed have the privilege of visiting such a company. And this company, as to be expected, is a family business, where the term “family” naturally extends to encompass not only all staff, but is loosely seen in the culture of the organisation to ultimately include suppliers and customers alike.

Des and Brendan Geraghty

AE Plastics was founded some 40 years ago by Des Geraghty in 1976 with a staff of four. At the time the need for signage was for “point-of-purchase” products, where vacuum formed packaging and creative display shelving was the main priority – thus the name “AE Plastics”. Des’ son Brendan joined the business 19 years ago and is now the Managing Director of the business.

In the ’70s and early ’80s, as demand began shifting steadily towards signage, the plastics aspect soon fell away. In a short space of time AE Plastics became synonymous with high quality signage. “Edgars was our first big client – since 1980 – and still is today,” said Des. “And securing this account put the business firmly into the retail space.”

Des’ statement really says it all: “…and still is today.” Only companies with true dedication, strong depth of capability, and a deep understanding of their clients’ needs is capable of retaining clients of this calibre over a period of decades, and is ongoing.

In terms of capability, AE Plastics is proud of its unparalleled set of in-house skills, coupled with a modern well equipped 10 000 m2 factory complete with overhead cranes, warehousing for bulk storage, and offices – conveniently located in Wadeville, Gauteng, between the N3 and N17 highways.

On staff and skills: “Our primary mission is to always supply the client on time,” said Brendan. “Our skill-set is growing all the time and many of our 110 staff have been trained up in-house over the years.

“Whilst welders and spray painters are recognised trades – and these skills are readily available – this is not so with signage skills which are unique and learned “on the job”. There is no “signage NQF” qualification, so we go to great lengths to train our staff in the skills specific to the signage industry, including fabrication and installation. Furthermore, we take care to look after our staff, most of whom have been with the company for over 30 years and include their own new generations joining and becoming part of the business.”

On this note, it is pleasing to learn that AE Plastics offers bursaries to its staff and their families. “We invest heavily in our staff, and always have,” continues Brendan. “An integral part of our vision is to help with the education of our people, to be a part of creating exciting opportunities for them to grow within the company. Ours is a “non-traditional” family business in which all participate with great pride.”

On customer service: “Few have the capability, the premises, the plant, the staff, and the knowledge and expertise that we have,” explains Des. “In order to be successful in this industry it is essential too, to develop a long term understanding of the needs and requirements of the client, and to ensure continuity in quality and service delivery over time. In our value system we spend a great deal of time communicating with our employees, customers and suppliers alike.”

The work pressures that come with signage manufacture can be significant, and as deadlines loom the close-knit culture within the company comes to the fore to the extent that everybody pitches in and stays until the job is done. “We keep in step with our clients,” continues Brendan. “And we have learned to move at the same pace as they do, anticipating their speed of requirement and growth.”

On plant and equipment: “Signage is very much a “hand-made” process,” explains Brendan. “At our new premises here in Wadeville our artisans are able to apply their skills to the full, as each job has its nuances. Processes always vary slightly – depending on design and customers’ specifications – there is very little repetition. Each sign is a little different – even for the same client.”

The AE Plastics production line has a quiet air of purpose about it. A sense of organised calm prevails. “Much time and effort is spent on pre-production planning and preparation,” said Des. “Our strength is in how to make the best product as quickly as possible in the most efficient and cost-effective way.”

Quality checks are in place at every stage of production, be it the CNC letter bending machine, framework and fabrication, wire work, spray-painting, final assembly or lighting and testing. The end results speak for themselves – and have done for decades.

On technology: “At one stage we had several of our own neon glass-blowers, and although there is still a small and specialised requirement for neon, that and fluorescents are now only maintenance contracts,” said Brendan. “Today LED is the main lighting technology, and quality is paramount.”

On geographic footprint: “AE Plastics operates throughout Southern Africa and in many African countries. All operations are fully managed directly and hands-on right here from our head office,” continued Des. “And all installations controlled and managed by our own teams on all sites.”

Regarding future direction: Brendan tells us that the market is changing slightly, and always is. “ACM (Aluminium Composite Material) cladding of buildings is becoming a practical way of revamping the exterior of older buildings – and is a natural extension of our business, which of course enables us to develop even more skill-sets,” explains Brendan. “So we are doing a fair percentage of that too.”

“Another direction of interest is the incorporation of renewable energy sources into the illumination of our signage. This will not only be of particular interest to our clients in keeping running costs down, but of course maintains our competitive edge with regard to leading the field with sensible application of modern technologies.”

In forthcoming editions of editions of Shopping & Retail SA we’ll be bringing our readers insight to some of AE Plastics’ installations and on site capabilities through a series of case studies, and we’ll be spending more time with them on the production floor getting to know the artisans and their skills developed through this exemplary company.

Sites where projects are currently in progress for various clients include:
-Springs Mall
-Ballito Junction
-Alexander Mall

Much fanfare as Ballito Junction Regional Mall opens

Much fanfare as Ballito Junction Regional Mall opens

23 March saw the much awaited opening of the Ballito Junction Regional Mall on the Dolphin Coast of KwaZulu-Natal, bringing an exciting array of comprehensive, quality shopping to the growing, diverse and flourishing consumers of Ballito and its surrounds.

The ribbon cutting ceremony at the opening of Ballito Junction Regional Mall in March: Front row: Mayor Cllr Ricardo Mthembu of Kwadukuza Municipality; Honourable Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi of the Department of Public Service and Administration; Deputy Mayor Dolly Govender of Kwadukuza Municipality and the Speaker of the Kwadukuza Municipality Phumlile Zulu. Back Row: Co-owners Patrick Flanagan from Flanagan and Gerard Property Development and Investment and Carl Jankowitz of Menlyn Maine Investments

Owned and developed by the consortium of Menlyn Maine Investment Holdings and Flanagan & Gerard Property Development & Investment, Ballito Junction , which is already fully-let, is the major expansion of an existing 10 000 m2 shopping centre, which has grown eight times its size, to a massive 80 000 m2 of world-class shopping.

With its sheer size, shopping and leisure variety, unique attractions, and all-encompassing services and amenities, Ballito Junction is positioned to serve the large cross-section of shoppers. This gives it a dominant position and super-regional pull.

Besides its wide-ranging shopping experience and top-notch retailers, the mall is designed to be a real asset for its community – an expanding community that had become sorely under-serviced by retail.

Ballito Junction also offers first-hour-free secure undercover parking, completely interlinked parking levels, generous parking bays close to its mall entrances – all of which is smoothly managed and operated by the renowned Skidata access systems. A drop-off and pick-up zone, and special links for public transport and pedestrians.


Inside, Ballito Junction is a fresh, exciting shopping experience. It forms easy shopper flows with visual appeal created by bright naturally-lit high-ceilinged air-conditioned malls lined with large, modern shopfronts.

“Ballito Junction offers the ideal shopping and entertainment for its area. It is also an exceptional development and reflects the latest in inspired mall design and retail innovation. It delivers a compelling, easily accessible, one-stop shopping experience right to the doorsteps of the residents of KwaDukuza for the first time,” says Patrick Flanagan of Flanagan and Gerard.

The mall’s development is a major private investment that stands to benefit its community. It brings with it increased economic prosperity by creating jobs and keeping retail spend local. The mall worked closely with the KwaDukuza Municipality to ensure that local job-seekers could benefit from the jobs created during its construction as well as the sustainable jobs which it has created for its ongoing operation.

“Ballito Junction has become a major stakeholder in this great community. We look forward to continuing to contribute as a valuable member of this community, which has supported us every step of the way,” adds Flanagan.

Residents and retailers alike have welcomed the shopping centre’s development, especially with its strong focus on serving the retail needs of the local permanent population.

A sensational selection of six anchor retailers plus a diverse mix of over 200 shops, restaurants, and services eagerly invested in Ballito Junction to be closer to, and better for, their shoppers in the area.

In fact, Carl Jankowitz of Menlyn Main Investment Holdings explains that demand was so strong the development was extended by 15 000 m2 during its construction phase to create more space to meet retailers’ demand.

The breath-taking contemporary mall features an impressive line-up of anchor tenants: Checkers, Woolworths, Edgars, Pick n Pay, Game and Dis-Chem. The anchor retailers are complemented by a full range of fashion, clothing, footwear, sportswear, wellness, health and beauty, gifts, furnishings, home décor, cellular services, outdoor goods and more. It also features a full house of local banks.

A highlight of the mall, Ballito Junction Urban Eatery, opens a whole new world of sensory experiences in a refreshingly different setting. From its magnificent six-metre-high feature window, Ballito Junction’s Urban Eatery looks out to the north over the undeveloped green parklands of Simbithi Eco-Estate and beyond that, on a clear day, to the Indian Ocean.

It is packed full of new names, unique attractions, retail firsts for its region and flagship offerings. It is home to the mall’s magnificent selection of restaurants, fast foods and cafes. Adding to its leisure and entertainment choices Ballito Junction also offers a state-of-the-art Nu Metro cinema complex and an all-new and awesome 22 Jump Street trampoline park.

Its superb location, off the major N2 highway, gives Ballito Junction excellent ease of access from its immediate vicinity as well as to its north and south, and even inland. It has dedicated access around the traffic circles of Leonora Drive, off both Ballito Drive and Simbithi Drive, as well as from Ballito Drive itself.

“Ballito Junction is a shopping experience of distinction for the community of KwaDukuza and the entire ILembe District. It is an asset that everyone can be proud of,” says Flanagan.

Jankowitz adds: “It is incredibly rewarding to bring this project to a successful completion and welcome everyone to the mall.”

Ballito Junction was officially opened by the Mayor Cllr Ricardo Mthembu and the Honourable Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi. The ribbon-cutting ceremony was attended by the owners, professional team, local and provincial government officials and dignitaries, as well as thousands of enthusiastic shoppers who came to shop at the new shopping centre.

Emira teams up with retail property specialists ONE Property Holdings

Emira teams up with retail property specialists ONE Property Holdings

In the process of rebalancing its diversified portfolio, Emira Property Fund Limited, a diversified JSE-listed REIT, has joined forces with retail property specialists ONE Property Holdings to form the specialised Enyuka Property Fund.

Earlier this year Emira reported a 68,93 cents dividend per share for its half-year ended 31 December 2016, which is in line with its market guidance.

Last year the company primed the market for negative growth of 2% in distribution per share for its year to 30 June 2017, projecting a total dividend of 143 cents per share. Emira is performing in line with expectations for its full year, and is anticipated to return to positive growth in the 2018 financial year.

Geoff Jennett, CEO of Emira Property Fund

Geoff Jennett, CEO of Emira Property Fund, says “We are fully focused on coming through the current challenges with a stronger portfolio and an even better business. We have clear strategies in place to do this. Emira has made good steps towards a return to positive growth in 2018 and will continue to investigate all opportunities to create value and ensure growing and sustainable earnings for our investors.”

Growing Emira’s low Living Standards Measure (LSM) retail portfolio at a faster and better rate than that currently achievable within its existing structures, Emira joined forces with retail property specialists ONE Property Holdings to form the specialised Enyuka Property Fund, effective from 16 January.

Enuyka started out with Emira’s R575 million portfolio of 15 retail properties, and a war chest for immediate acquisitions and developments up to a further R625 million. It has a current pipeline of R400 million of similar assets, and further acquisition opportunities of up to R500 million.

“With Enyuka, Emira will receive the same returns from these retail properties as we would if the properties remained in the portfolio, plus will benefit from a share of any excess income above a benchmark. We will also benefit from the acquisition of new assets and enjoy meaningful participation in an actively-managed and growing base of rural retail assets,” explains Jennett.

The short-term challenges Emira faces are increased vacancies in its office portfolio, the oversupply of offices in the market, rising municipal costs, and negative rental reversions resulting from the weak macroeconomic environment.

Emira’s half-year was defined by an intense strategic focus on portfolio rebalancing out of the office sector, aggressive leasing and tenant retention, vigilant cost control, prudent financial management and identifying new opportunities.

While Emira successfully renewed 72.8% of space expiring during the half year, as expected its overall vacancies increased from 5.3% to 7.0%. Its low retail (3.6%) and industrial (1.2%) vacancies are better than the respective sector national averages measured by SAPOA. However, its office vacancies increased to 16%.

Jennett explains that, besides managing its vacancies with letting and tenant retention strategies, Emira is also better aligning its portfolio for a persistently tough market by reducing its exposure to office property. It is undertaking a significant non-core property disposal programme, which will further its rebalancing Initiative.

During the period, Emira sold and transferred two properties for R130,2 million at a combined premium to book value of 26.7%. It has committed to selling a further 19 properties valued at R917,1 million. Unconditional sales have already been concluded for R381,2 million of these properties, and they are expected to transfer before 30 June 2017.

Jennett says the disposal funds will be put to best use. As part of this process, Emira is also assessing its properties for potential upgrades, refurbishments, extension or even conversions to different uses, including residential.

“We want to put every asset to its highest use. Emira will continue to invest in projects that modernise, extend and redevelop our assets to enhance their values and competitiveness and extract value from existing bulk,” says Jennett. “Furthermore, we are planning some exciting projects that include the conversion of office space to residential space, where the best use of the asset is residential. Announcements in this regard will be made shortly”.

Currently, Emira has four projects underway, including the complete redevelopment of Knightsbridge, creating 30 000 m2 of quality offices in what will be the only P-grade green-certified office park in Bryanston. The phased project has already secured tenants WSP|Parsons Brinckerhoff in 5 900 m2 and the KFC and Pizza Hut head offices in Africa in 3 150 m2 of efficient modern offices.

Favouring the offshore exposure it gets from its investment in Growthpoint Properties Australia (GOZ), Emira recently followed its rights and acquired a further 1 332 753 GOZ shares. It now holds 4.9% of GOZ shares in issue. Its GOZ investment is valued at R924,2 million with an investment cost of R416,8 million – this equates to a 121.7% increase in value. Emira’s income from GOZ grew by 1.7%, with the stronger ZAR against the AUD largely offsetting distribution growth.

Good news for Emira came in the form of winning an interim award to claim for a damages amount, still to be determined by the arbitrator, from Worley Parsons for breach of a valid lease agreement. No rental was accrued for this lease during the period.

Emira continues to enjoy good access to funding and, during the period, concluded a new R300 million four-year secured facility with Standard Bank. Its gearing remains a conservative 37.8%, with 84.0% of its debt fixed for a weighted average duration of 2.9 years.

It also completed a share buy-back programme of 14,016,201 Emira shares that benefits from the divergence between its equity value on the stock exchange and its net asset value. “We have great confidence in Emira’s prospects relative to its share price and believe it is an opportune time for share buy-backs,” says Jennett. Emira’s net asset value increased 1.4% during the period.
Emira is a medium-cap diversified JSE-listed REIT that is invested in a quality balanced portfolio of office, retail and industrial properties. Its assets comprise 142 properties valued at R13,3 billion. Emira is also internationally diversified through its direct interest in ASX-listed GOZ.