Dated Kempton Park CBD property identified for 'street-front' upgrade

Posted On Wednesday, 06 August 2008 02:00 Published by eProp Commercial Property News
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Despite having been on the market for years with no takers, Kempton City, a Kempton Park landmark, is set to receive a multi-million Rand redevelopment and get a new lease on life, thanks to some of South Africa’s foremost property experts

Jeffrey WapnickKempton City is one of the most iconic and historically significant locations in the city and was one of the first malls developed in South Africa. For years it served as the main commercial strip in the Kempton Park CBD and the development team believe that it can have a positive contribution to the rejuvenation of the city centre.

Ekurhuleni Metro councillor Leon von Ronge is enthusiastic about what this development, which is located within the urban development zone, means for Kempton Park. “This is a very exciting project that we believe will be a catalyst to bring residents back to the city centre. It is the start of a major urban renewal process in the CBD,” points out Clr von Ronge “In addition, neighbouring businesses will also benefit from the support of the new residents and energising of the area,” he notes.

Clr von Ronge elaborates that other cities within the Metro also have non-viable CBD buildings and the success of this conversion could well see similar projects spreading to other cities in Ekurhuleni.

Unfortunately, Kempton City's design has become dated over the years, presenting more like a gloomy maze than today’s bright, airy retail centres. As a result, it had become non-viable as a shopping destination with many retailers and shoppers preferring the modern shopping arenas of neighbouring Festival Mall and Kempton Square

This is all about to change with a massive R325 million cash injection from a joint venture of some of SA’s most savvy property investors and developers who bring with them a tried-and-tested formula to transform Kempton City into a modern, vibrant, mixed-use retail and residential development.

The development is a joint venture between IPS Investments and Circlevest Properties. Through IPS investments, two of South Africa’s most respected JSE-listed property holding companies, Premium Properties Limited and Octodec Investments Limited, will both have a 20% shareholding in Kempton City. City Property Administration will be the managing agent for the development, which is to be funded by Nedbank Corporate Property Finance.

The investment by these leading companies will see Kempton City redeveloped and converted into a mixed-use community with some 800 quality, upmarket residential apartments and 8,500m2 of engaging, supporting street-front retail.

The existing 177 apartments in Kempton City, which are in a terrible state and have been poorly maintained, will be upgraded as the first challenge the developers tackle, together with the creation of the exciting new street-level retail. Together these comprise the first phase of the project.

Simultaneously, the major portion of the shopping centre itself will be demolished, making way for the second phase of an eight-storey residential apartment campus.

“We see huge potential for this site. Its location is one of its best features and will make it highly appealing to a wide variety of residents,” reports Jeffrey Wapnick, MD of City Property Administration.

Kempton City is located opposite the municipal offices; close to OR Tambo International Airport with its many airlines, car rental companies and ACSA itself with some 6,000 employees who commute daily past Kempton City; Arwyp Medical Centre; Emperors Palace and a number of hotels; Festival Mall; and Kempton Square. It is also central to rail, taxi and road transport hubs. Furthermore, it is located only one train stop from the future site of the Rhodesfield Gautrain Station - the only Gautrain Station that is located near to a Metro Rail Station - which a mere 100 metres away.

“With the price of petrol and transport becoming so costly and the unfavourable interest rate putting pressure on consumers, many people are seeking to live closer to their workplaces,” says Gustav Holtzhausen, MD of Circlevest Properties.

Brian Roberts of Nedbank Corporate Property Finance notes that he was pleased to be able to back this development. “Nedbank has a longstanding relationship with City Property Administration which has consistently displayed an extraordinary ability to redevelop and turn around inner city properties. City Property’s reputation for developing solid, sustainable assets and knowledge of property is exceptional,” says Roberts.

City Property began undertaking residential conversion in 1998 and over the past 10 years has become recognised as the undisputed leader in this field as well is being respected for its unparalleled ability to manage residential apartments to the highest standards.

“It all started when we identified a building which was no longer viable for its originally intended purpose. City Property converted these offices to apartments and 10 years later it still looks brand new. We have developed immense intellectual capital through experience,” notes Wapnick. It is this experience that dictates the best design, materials, management and development on all of its investments to create a product that is well-accepted by the market and is a sustainable investment.

With award-winning conversions acknowledged both by the Cities of Johannesburg and Tshwane, Wapnick puts the success of City Properties’ residential conversion down to creating living spaces which recognise what the market wants, at affordable prices and, most importantly, never taking shortcuts.
“The market is stronger than we are. As long as we listen to the market, and deliver a product which meets their needs, we will continue to provide successful, popular living spaces,” says Wapnick.

Circlevest Properties is a much younger property development and investment company than their esteemed partners, but has completed some very successful redevelopments within the Johannesburg CBD including the award winning Mapungubwe Hotel and Apartments in another joint venture with Atterbury Properties.

As this is the first foray into Kempton Park for the development team, extensive personal research and professional research by Urban Studies research company was undertaken which identified a shortage of rental residential apartments ranging from R2,500 to R5,000 per month.

In addition, a survey undertaken by the developers found that the existing apartment blocks in the area are mostly fully let and most of them have waiting lists for the apartments. Already there are nearly 100 people on the waiting list for the existing Kempton City apartments.

“There is little new development of quality high-rise residential centrally-located property,” says Wapnick.

High-rise apartment blocks provide highly effective control in terms of security, management and maintenance. This kind of living also creates energy efficiencies and the developers will be ensuring the building is as energy friendly as possible in terms of its operation. In fact, the new development, which will have full emergency standby generation and will consume less power than its shopping mall predecessor.

The classic apartments will range from 30m2 bachelor flats to 65m2 apartments ranging from one- and two-bedroom units, as well as a select number of three-bedroom flats. All reflect the clean lines of modern, functional spaces with all the vibrance of city living.

Each apartment will embody the stringent quality specifications applied by City Property, from top-notch fitted-kitchen finishes including granite tops, full bathrooms, carpeted rooms, intercoms, 24-hour security, access control, safe resident and visitor parking as well as landscaped gardens and recreation areas.

The urban design of the redeveloped Kempton City has been a strong focus of the developers, with the aim of creating both a quality living environment and a sustainable asset. “This vision has been to design a ‘human’ building and create a liveable community,” says architect Georg van Gass of W Design. He explains that because of the community oriented design concepts, a sustainable “village” will develop at Kempton City, where residents know their neighbours and have easy access to local shops and transport hubs.

“The many communal spaces are inspired by the African culture of gathering underneath a tree, making the space between the buildings as important as the apartments themselves,” explains van Gass.

A number of magnificently interlinked landscaped gardens and courtyard-spaces will allow friends and families to easily gather together. Each space provides recreation activities from swimming pools, to children’s play areas, slam-dunk courts, braai and entertainment spaces as well as quite tranquil benches.

Garden sky-courts will form community spaces on each level of the building with luxurious lift foyer spaces and cleverly positioned passageways to ensure welcoming and comfortable connecting spaces, while carpets add warmth to the communal areas with natural lighting creating a comfortable and flowing mood, highlighted by detailed accents and colours.

Contrasting with this comforting private heart, the external streetscape is designed to invite interaction with vibrant retail, which both supports the needs of the building’s residents, as well as those of the area. This will include retailers such as food, fashion and even a gym. The street front shops – as opposed to enclosed mall systems – will allow residents and non-residents alike to mingle in a social, open-air environment.

“Retailers previously located in Kempton City, will be given the first application opportunity to be included in the new ‘high street’ retail component of Kempton City,” assures Wapnick.

Demolition has commenced and some of the refurbished existing units will be available as early as March 2009. The completion of the retail is expected by November next year and phase two should be ready for occupation by August 2010.


Last modified on Monday, 19 May 2014 15:41

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