Propnet planning to revamp Carlton.

Posted On Wednesday, 03 April 2002 14:04 Published by
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Propnet is seeking a partner to run and manage hotel.

Company is seeking a partner to run and manage hotel. Propnet is planning to resuscitate the Carlton Hotel. If it succeeds, the project will be another milestone in the revival of Johannesburg's central business district. 

Propnet, the Transnet property arm that manages the centre, needs a private partner in the form of a hotel investor to run and manage the hotel, as Propnet cannot do this itself. 
Propnet MD Sipho Mashinini says it has a local hotel operator lined up as a partner and the process of reopening the hotel is at an advanced stage. However, he is not willing to name the partner yet. 

Property economist Francois Viruly says activity at the Carlton indicates that efforts to revitalise the city are starting to be rewarded, with people beginning to see the central business district in a positive light. 'Urban regeneration can be sustainable only if the private sector plays a critical role,' he says. 

Mashinini says the hotel operator's investigation has proved the project viable and approval from Propnet's board is one of the few hurdles left to clear before the hotel is relaunched. 
The viability investigation took into account the fact that Carlton Hotel housed world-class conference facilities and was the only one of its kind in the centre of Johannesburg. 

This conference facility should be welcomed by Transnet the centre's anchor tenant government departments and big business, like Absa, which is housed nearby, says Mashinini. 
The centre's previous owners, the now defunct Anglo American Properties, sold it for a bargain-basement price of R34m two years ago. The maintenance costs in the then almost empty 50storey tower were prohibitive. 

After the sale Transnet moved in and was followed by a host of other tenants, boosting occupancy from about zero to 94%. 

The turnaround, says Mashinini, cost Propnet about R50m, which was spent on general refurbishment, including upgrading the foyer, office tower and the parking lift lobby and cabling. 

Security has been upgraded. The centre is controlled by a state-of-the-art access card and video monitoring system. 

The centre's film theatre is also set for upgrading, following Ster-Kinekor's decision to renew its lease. 

Mashinini says the relaunched hotel will have 200 hotel rooms. The remaining 400 rooms will be turned into lodge and office accommodation. 

Mashinini says the centre has appreciated remarkably in the past two years, attracting inquiries from would-be buyers. 

'We are not willing to sell right now,' he says. 

'We believe we can add further value to this development through the relaunch of the Carlton Hotel and later sell for a substantial amount.'

Business Day

Publisher: Business Day
Source: Business Day

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