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City revamps stepped up

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Precinct developer plans 4 000 new apartments in CBDs

Residential building development in some South African CBDs is going to be stepped up, with thousands of units planned over the next four years.

Propertuity, which is behind the development of the Maboneng precinct, announced it would focus on niche urban residential developments, and developing buildings with more than 4000 residential apartments in the Joburg and Durban CBDs.

Propertuity started construction in Maboneng 11 years ago, and has spent more than R1 billion transforming it into a safe haven. A large portion of this investment has gone towards community upliftment, either via direct contribution or public infrastructure, to engineer a snowball effect to give the district a life of its own.

Propertuity believes Maboneng has gained the momentum to transition to the next chapter of its history. To support this vision, the group is six months into a process which has seen changes to its operations, including the outsourcing of non-core functions, the selling of non-core assets and an acquisition drive for new development land in an effort to lead the way as a focused residential developer.

“Our focus is to become a lean organisation focused on large-scale residential development within the inner city,” says Jonathan Liebmann, founder and chief executive of Propertuity.

“We are doing this by selling some of our legacy buildings to select investors who have a long-term view of inner city rejuvenation. These buildings will have continued strategic involvement from the Propertuity brand to maintain the integrity of our vision.

“We are developers, so it is natural for us to sell property to fund further expansion. The key objective of the residential pipeline is to take the foundation created in Maboneng and grow the residential population by way of large mixed-income residential offerings that will ensure the sustainability of the neighbourhood.

Although Propertuity is becoming focused on residential buildings, it says community support facilities and infrastructure such as education, transport, security, cleanliness and convenience retail are key components to the ecosystem, and they will continue to promote this holistic approach to neighbourhood development.

By far the most impressive shift comes in the form of strategic partnerships Propertuity has formed with South African property funds, which have pre-purchased thousands of the units within the development programme.

“The financial power this gives Propertuity to make long-term acquisitions to grow the district is unprecedented. In the first quarter of 2018 alone, we acquired six entire city blocks to form one large mixed-use, mixed-income community as an extension of Maboneng,” Liebmann says.

Among notable acquisitions and disposals are completed developments that pave the way for expansion, including Pixley House in Durban, which won the National Architectural Award and achieved 100% occupancy of its 100 apartments.

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