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South Africans are good at spending as opposed to investing.

Posted On Wednesday, 28 April 2004 02:00 Published by
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Our strength as a nation is spending

Property Reporter

THE retail boom, which has been apparent in SA for the past 30 years or longer, seems set to continue with a number of new retail developments planned, particularly around Johannesburg.

Several new developments will be completed either this year or next year in Roodepoort, Soweto and Lenasia.

The biggest of the retail developments is the R500m Clearwater shopping centre now being built on a 17,3ha site at the junction of Christiaan de Wet and Hendrik Potgieter Roads in Roodepoort.

Clearwater is a joint venture between Nedbank Corporate's property and asset finance division and developers Attfund. Ken Reynolds, regional investment manager at Nedbank Property & Asset Finance, says Attfund has a 65% stake in Clearwater and Nedbank Property & Asset Finance 35%.

Other projects in which Nedbank Property & Asset Finance has invested include Sandton's Michelangelo Towers and Cape Town's Cape Gate regional shopping centre.

Construction on the Clearwater centre, which will have a gross lettable area of 65000m² in phase one, began last October. This regional shopping centre, expected to be completed by the end of October, is new competition for Westgate.

Reynolds says that Roodepoort is "growing very fast. We did a demographic study to see which areas were growing, and this was definitely one of the areas.

"A lot of regional shopping centres are built prematurely to cater for future needs whereas this one caters for current needs."

Attfund CEO Louis Norval believes there is an obvious need for a new upmarket shopping centre in the region. "From those high- income residents on the luxury golf course estates, large residences on the ridge and the middle-income suburb of Weltevreden Park, to the first-time homeowners in Radiokop across the way, demand is evident."

Reynolds says that among the national retailers at the centre are Pick 'n Pay, Edgars, Woolworths and the Foshini Group. It will be home to nearly 200 shops in total, national retailers and cinemas.

The centre, which has been designed by Bentel Associates International, has a triangular design. There is a courtyard in the middle with a retractable roof.

The courtyard will host the lifestyle area and include restaurants and lifestyle shops.

Norval says there has been "huge demand" for space at Clearwater, and he has received as many as eight applications at a time for certain stores.

Because of this he says he has no doubt that the Clearwater shopping centre will open fully leased.

Property economist Erwin Rode, of Rode & Associates, says Clearwater is aimed at the middle to upper middle class, and is in an area where the population is growing.

Although retail developments are springing up in a number of places, Rode says he does not believe SA is "overshopped".

"I've been in the property industry for about 30 years. As far as you go back, every time a new shopping centre goes up people say we're overshopped and it won't work. It's happening now again," he says.

Rode says the main reason SA is not overshopped is that consumption expenditure which has been growing in real terms at 3% a year is the one sector in the country that has been "virtually impervious to recessions".

"South Africans are good at spending as opposed to investing. Our strength as a nation is spending." Rode says that is why there is a constant need for more retail space.

He says that shopping centres are showing "very nice capital growth", and that the latest figures from the Investment Property Databank SA for this year show that income streams have grown more than 10% .

Apr 28 2004 07:55:09:000AM Nick Wilson Business Day 1st Edition

Publisher: Business Day
Source: Business Day
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