Helderberg Basin ticks all the boxes for commercial property investment

There is strong demand for commercial, industrial and retail space in the Helderberg Basin, according to Detlef Struck, commercial property specialist for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty in Somerset West and Stellenbosch.

“All three sectors are very active between Somerset West and the airport, largely due to the fact that about 7 500 new homes are being built at the Sitari, Vergenoegd, Aan de Wijnlanden, and Acorns developments. Most of the new residents in these developments will inevitably want to work and do their shopping in the area,” says Stuck.

To cater for the demand, the Firgrove business park is being developed close to Firgrove Station and just five minutes from Waterstone Village shopping centre and the Somerset West CBD in a node that has been declared a transit orientated development zone, which enjoys some relaxation of building regulations.

The development is north of the N2, with high visibility from N2, R102 and M9 freeways and nearby public transport facilities include the train station and a bus stop, and the MyCiti bus route which in in the planning stage and will be operational by early 2019.

The 55 ha development will consist of a shopping strip with retail outlets and a business park with upmarket units of about 2 000 m2 to 4 000 m2 in buildings of up to four storeys, all of which must comply with architectural guidelines.

The business park units will be suitable for a wide range of enterprises, and will be ideal for businesses that need easy access to the airport, the Helderberg Basin and Cape Town. Although no leases have yet been signed, Stuck says the developer is in negotiations with Benbel, Food Lovers Market, and Talisman.

“The developer is in the process of levelling ground and construction is due to start early next year with the first buildings scheduled for completion in 2019.

“There is another area with a connection to the station where the developer would like to build a retail shopping centre with offices as well as a residential estate with units in blocks like in Barcelona, Spain or Nooitgedacht Village in Stellenbosch.”

Stuck says that because of the restrictions on development in the adjacent Stellenbosch area there is no commercial development in the south of Stellenbosch – the closest new complex is north of Stellenbosch on the corner of Bottelary Road (R304).

“There is another commercial business park south of the N2 towards Macassar, where almost all the units have been let or sold and the next closest business parks to the west are in Saxenburg and Blackheath, which are some distance from Firgrove.”

Chris Cilliers, chief executive and principal for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty in the Winelands, says: “Somerset West is fast becoming known as a commercial hotspot and a prime location from which to do business and to buy commercial space as an investment.

“Having grown exponentially during the last decade, commercially it now comprises different pockets, with the strongest demand for new office space and light industrial units between Somerset West and the airport.

“With commercial property prices that are still about 20% cheaper than in Cape Town, the boom time in the commercial capital of the Helderberg Basin looks set to continue into the foreseeable future.”

Lew Geffen, chairman of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty, believes there are few better property investments in South Africa than Winelands commercial space.

“Yields on commercial property are traditionally better than residential property where rental increases usually drop when the economy slumps. Commercial leases, on the other hand, usually keep pace with inflation.”

Geffen says another key factor underpinning the commercial growth in the region is the fact that people continue to seek a better quality lifestyle away from the city, but still want to be close to all amenities.

“The Helderberg Basin ticks all the main boxes,” says Geffen.

Opinion piece: Surfing the next wave of building and security systems

By Peter Stutz, Portfolio Manager: Security at Jasco Enterprise

Many commercial facilities in South African have a number of different security solutions in place. As technologies continue to advance and prices drop, the enormous benefits they bring are making it a risky proposition not to upgrade to digital, analytics and open systems, and integrate these disparate systems for better control.

At present, many organisations still make use of stand-alone analogue solutions, sweating their investments by doing piecemeal integrations (eg integrating surveillance and access control solutions) and upgrades to address changing risk profiles. Often, security still falls outside of Information Technology with budgets and management usually being separate. These tactics start to look less attractive, however, as technology advances begin to fundamentally change the way security solutions can be applied, reaching into new segments of the business to add value.

Future tech wave

In five years’ time, security solutions as we know them will have converged with IT infrastructure, enterprise applications and external systems (eg IoT) to deliver way more than perimeter surveillance, authentication and protection of assets and people. Intelligent algorithms and analytics in CCTV and surveillance systems can, for example, be used within retail and service segments.  They can assist companies to better understand how to optimise traffic, store layout and merchandising, and even prompt staff placement, shifting staff dynamically to improve management of service segments. This is only the beginning.

Consider the potential of tying together a personal cloud with a building system that reaches into enterprise systems. This could create a reality in which an individual, on authentication at the entrance of a building, becomes the catalyst for a whole series of automated events that link together the individual, people within the facility and the functional spaces within the building to drive efficiencies and productivity to a new level. For example, as a visitor enters a building to attend a meeting, all attendees are alerted, boardroom sensors are activated and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) are adjusted, catering requirements are communicated, and personal diaries are updated with attendee information.

Other advancements, once the networks are in place, will include rapid automated deployment of security and devices on networks. Instead of manual system integration, system advances will allow for auto provisioning using specific policies for deployment of devices such as cameras, and their integration into larger systems.

Moving forward

The first step toward modern systems is migrating to IP-based infrastructure and wireless technologies. This provides the organisation with greater flexibility. With the addition of advanced features, traditional challenges can be alleviated. Introducing intelligence and analytics provides better ways to analyse inputs at national operations centres, and offers new ways to present alerting and notification, improving compliance.

As security solutions and features begin to add value to the business on more fronts than just protecting assets and people, the business case for implementation and for converging business, IT and security budgets will begin to make sense. However, with multiple systems to integrate, it’s critical that organisations select a system integrator with a keen understanding of the security challenges integration presents.

If organisations are to integrate HVAC, enterprise and security systems and devices, as well as the new hosted applications with their ‘built-in’ APIs that are emerging, an integration layer is required. Many organisations are currently grappling with this challenge. It needs to be done correctly, with consideration for future impacts.

Think ahead

As organisations begin to migrate to IP and advanced solutions, their first, most urgent task will be to think ahead. To activate the benefits of technology advances, they need to be asking questions like:


  • What do we want to be monitoring?
  • How do we want to control information?
  • Can we outsource physical management?
  • What can we feed into our building management system?

This is an important part of the journey to digitisation which drives competitiveness and security within a digital environment. The investment is essential but, with some innovation and ingenuity, the returns can be exponential.

Walvis Bay gets ready to welcome Dunes Mall, developed by Atterbury and Tradehold

A desert oasis of shopping and entertainment for the people of Walvis Bay, the new 27 500 m2 Dunes Mall is in the final stages of completion, with its doors set to open to shoppers on October 26.

Developed by leading South African property developer and investor Atterbury, and in partnership with local developers Tradehold, the new R500 million mall is located in the key Namibian port city, providing residents with a quality regional shopping centre that they can call their own.

“The fact that this is the first regional shopping centre in Walvis Bay, says it all. We have designed and built a shopping centre that would stand out anywhere. The design and finishes are of a high quality and there will be no need for locals to leave Walvis anymore, there will be a quality shopping centre on their doorstep,” says Development Manager for Atterbury, Evert Kleynhans.

Walvis Bay is currently enjoying substantial growth, with significant investment being made in its port. The mall responds to this and is excellently positioned to meet both retailer and consumer demand.

Dunes Mall benefits from a prime location at a major road intersection close to the city’s airport and the iconic tourism area of Swakopmund, providing a comprehensive and exciting variety of shopping and entertainment for Walvis Bay residents and visitors, as well as people from throughout Namibia’s greater Erongo region.

The centre is anchored by a 3 500 m2 Checkers, a 2 700 m2 Pick n Pay and a 1 700 m2 Woolworths. Adding to the mix is a 1 500 m2 Dis-Chem and a 1 800 m2 House and Home. Fashion retailers are well represented with retail offerings from Cotton On, Truworths, the Mr Price Group, Foschini Group and Pepkor Group.

“Our aim for this project was to construct a convenient and dominant shopping centre, and I believe we have done just that,” Kleynhans says.

Providing visitors with the perfect spot to relax and spend time with family and friends, Dunes Mall will also feature a food court with a children’s play area and a fountain in the middle of the centre. Dining options will include Spur, John Dory’s, Mugg & Bean and Col’Cacchio, all with ample outdoor seating areas.

The mall which will be managed by Atterbury, will be the largest in the area and the second largest in Namibia after The Grove Mall of Namibia, also developed and managed by Atterbury, and is expected to be a catalyst for even more development and investment in the area.

“On completion there will be around 80 shops, all of which will be employing local people, creating a very positive impact on the local population,” Kleynhans says.

“Atterbury has grown a reputation as a leading South African property investor and developer, but it is also in in a prime position to deliver a development like this to the community of Walvis Bay, outside of South Africa’s borders. Developing property on the rest of the African continent comes with a unique set of challenges. Fortunately, our experience in countries like Mauritius, Ghana and Mozambique gives us an advantage, and as a result we will soon be celebrating the opening of yet another successful development for Atterbury.”

The nuts and bolts of Bridging Finance

Anyone who has ever been in the unfortunate position of suddenly having to come up with the cash to pay a transfer attorney or the city council in order to buy or sell a property will be well aware of the option of bridging finance, but often property buyers and sellers are unsuspecting of additional costs that will be incurred when buying and selling a property. Bridging finance has been around for a while to assist property sellers to overcome these shortfalls, but many are unaware of this as a solution.

Nicola Faurie, relationship manager at Bridge Flow, a Cape Town-based bridging finance company, says that most property sellers are not aware of the additional costs involved. “Sometimes it’s a case of buyers being ill-informed and not realising the full meaning and extent of certain clauses in an offer to purchase. Sellers, too, on the other hand, are also often unaware that things such as rates and taxes must be settled before transfer can take place and are often caught unawares.”

Faurie explains that the bridging finance facility on a property transaction can be used to cover:


  • Deposit on the purchase price of a new property
  • Transfer duties
  • Levies
  • Outstanding rates and taxes
  • Moving costs

It is however not limited to the above and can utilised by the property seller for any purpose, for example to buy a car that is on special for a limited period of time.

Bridging finance is available only once the sale is secure, ie when the deposit has been paid, the bond approved and the balance of the purchase price has been secured via a bank guarantee. Buyers are able to apply for bridging finance once all of the above is in place and as long as they are selling an existing property. Once all the paperwork has been received and no problem issues are flagged, bridging finance companies are usually able to process and approve a loan within a few hours. In the case of Bridge Flow’s process, Iza Albutt says that if the credit committee has received the required paperwork before 2pm, they are able to do a real-time transfer of the funds on the same day.

What happens next?

Both buyer and seller are now in the hands of the deeds office as they await transfer of the property, which can take anything from two to eight weeks and sometimes longer if there are any complications. Once the property is transferred and registered, the bank releases the funds for the mortgage loan and the bridging finance debt is settled. This means that any bridging finance is short-term and settled in a lump sum.

Bridging finance has been very successful in the property market as a solution while funds are locked in a property deal. One wonders, then, why banks don’t offer similar solutions on property transactions.