Gauteng's N1 'remains magnet' for new property developments

The property node along the N1 extending from the Buccleuch Interchange to the Samrand off-ramp in Gauteng is fast becoming the most sought after commercial real estate in Gauteng, and possibly in South Africa, according to Trussard Property Consultants.

Trussard reports a substantial increase in enquiries about the availability of vacant land and commercial property developments next to the N1.

This increase in enquiries has translated into Trussard being awarded four property developments in this node spanning a 10month period. These developments are significant as they include two multi-national companies, a radio station and a relocation of an established company from Bedfordview.

Trussard's three directors, Dennis Helyar, Edward Ward and Mark Truscott, have a hands-on approach to Trussard's property deal flows, where each director is equally involved but is allocated individual client portfolios. The three directors are all upbeat about this corridor.

Medtronic moved to its new 2 200m² premises in Woodmead North Office Park in May, after outgrowing the Bedfordview premises it had occupied for 18 years.

"Medtronic is an international brand that provides products and therapies to the public and private healthcare sectors, and its specifications for premises included a mock operating theatre where medical practitioners could experience 'lifelike' medical presentations," says Helyar. "The firm required more space, in a central location that would be well-served by arterial routes on a site that makes it more visible."

Another office development in the same office park was recently sourced for BT (formerly British Telecom), which will celebrate its 20th anniversary in SA by moving into larger premises that reflect its steady growth in the sub-Saharan African region. BT's brief to Ward included larger premises with excellent visibility that also enable BT to adopt its green principles.

"This stretch of the N1 from the Buccleuch Interchange to the Samrand off-ramp is highly visible to the... commuters who traverse this freeway daily. Being a responsible and sustainable multi-national business leader is one of BT's strategic business priorities and BT wants its new offices to reflect this priority."
BT's new 2 800m² offices will be ready for occupation on December 1st.

Another accolade for Trussard was finding new premises for Gauteng radio broadcaster, Jacaranda FM. Part of the listed Kagiso Media group, Jacaranda FM has started a rebranding exercise, which its new 2 100m² premises will reflect. The building faces the N1 and straddles Vodacom and Siemens in Midrand.
Truscott says Jacaranda FM's new custom-built premises will also be ready for occupation on December 1.
"For Jacaranda FM's location is paramount as this broadcaster requires a site that is in the line of sight of the Magaliesberg broadcast transmission tower, which provides listeners with crystal clear reception. Issues of security have been addressed to ensure optimal safety for personnel and the visiting public. As a public broadcaster, Jacaranda FM has interacted extensively with its listeners in the rebranding exercise and entertainment areas are accommodated in the new building," says Truscott.

The fourth building along this important node was sourced for Avroy Shlain, a multi- national direct selling beauty house which has become a household name with a base of 25 000 distributors. Avroy Shlain has always seen Midrand as the logical base for its operations but had outgrown its premises.

The brief to Trussard was that the firm required a state-of-the-art purpose-built facility within a threekilometre radius of its existing premise. Truscott says that finding vacant land within this radius was a challenge as Midrand has very few suitable sites available.

"Nonetheless we succeeded in meeting our client's expectations in addition to their exacting health and safety requirements - which are certainly above South African specifications."

Avroy Shlain's 6 000m² premises will be ready for occupation in the first quarter of 2013.

The Trussard directors are optimistic that this corridor, incorporating surrounding developments such as the new Waterfall Park precinct next to the highway between the Buccleuch and Allendale interchanges, will continue to attract similarly exacting clients. They believe that with new building techniques that incorporate reduced heat loss, "greener" lighting and air-conditioning technologies, businesses will actually find that running expenses will stay comfortably below the rental curve and could garner respectable savings in the long-term.

"We foresee that the new arterial roads and bridges that are planned for this area will improve this node's commercial viability. This could spark a hive of re-locations of businesses from outlying areas, which should establish this area as Gauteng's premier business district," say the directors.

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition)

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