JHI Properties poised for growth in Western Cape

While South Africa still faces economic challenges, a variety of opportunities exist for growth in the commercial property management industry, says Johann Boshoff, director, property management for JHI Properties.

“In the current market we are seeing positive signs which include increasing enquiries for the uptake of space, with corporate organisations indicating their willingness to make decisions in regard to relocation – including moves to larger premises, while we also perceive new development opportunities in the market,” says Boshoff.

“Given the tighter trading conditions and rising operating costs generally we have seen an increasing trend among larger organisations towards incorporating all their business units in one convenient location rather than spread across areas or even regions - a factor which can have a significant positive impact on cost effectiveness.

“As a strategic move, and in order to capitalise on these trends and opportunities, Marius Basson, formerly director for JHI in the Western Cape, has been appointed executive: corporate strategy and asset management, in a role which we believe will give us a competitive edge in the marketplace. With almost two decades of experience with the company both in Gauteng and regionally in the Western Cape, he will operate nationally in providing a specialised service to listed companies and corporates, identifying their individual real estate needs and providing advice on better workflow and utilisation of space as well as investment advice and re-gearing of leases.

“From an asset management perspective he will highlight the latest trends in the market both internationally and nationally, as well as new and planned developments. This dual role will enable us to provide not only a more focused analysis of the performance of clients’ portfolios, but will also provide valuable input for our action plans for the business,” adds Boshoff.

With extensive experience in property management both with Colliers and more recently, as executive manager for Hermans & Roman Property Solutions, Liezel Conradie has been appointed regional executive for JHI Properties in the Western Cape with a key focus on capitalising on the various growth opportunities that the market presents.

Comments Conradie: “As is evident from the amount of new leases which have been concluded during the first part of 2012, the commercial property market in the Western Cape is currently reflecting positive growth. There has been a visible, positive increase in the letting of space in the commercial, retail and industrial sectors in the region, while the number of enquiries for space continues to rise.”

She says although the office vacancy rate in the city still remains fairly high, there is a significant increase in the letting of office space in areas such as Century City and also Durbanville in Cape Town’s Northern Suburbs. “The uptake in interest in office accommodation is mainly due to landlords competitively aligning office rentals with market related rates. Coupled with this they are also more conscious of keeping the office grading of their assets in line with demand and as a result are more inclined to invest in upgrading their buildings and keeping up with market trends in order to retain maximum market rentals.

“Following the major capital investment in the Western Cape region - with new infrastructure and an improved transport system, I believe numerous property management opportunities exist, and we have already highlighted several key areas for our concentrated inroads into the market which include the Montague Gardens, Airport Industrial and Durban Road areas. In addition, we will be expanding our existing management portfolio in regard to mixed-use development schemes which include commercial, retail and residential in one building; neighbourhood and convenience shopping centres; and property management for listed funds.”

Conradie says there is far more to property management than collecting rentals and maintenance, and today this is a fast-paced, competitive environment which requires one to move quickly and adapt rapidly. “With this in mind we will also be building our property management division, focusing on understanding the landlords’ assets and strategies, unlocking the value and operating closely with asset managers in order to achieve the maximum return on investment and capital growth of the buildings under management,” she adds.

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