BUSINESS DAY – Randburg set for business reboot

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Laurence Rapp

EFFORTS are under way to make Randburg’s central business district a successful office node again after 15 difficult years of companies leaving the area.

Companies including Emira Property Fund and Vukile Property Fund, which own major buildings in the area, said last week that office tenants were attracted to the rents in Randburg, which can be lower than those in other hubs such as Sandton and Rosebank.

“Randburg nevertheless offers good access to Sandton, which means companies that do business with clients in Sandton can have their offices in Randburg,” Ma’alot Investments CEO Maurice Shapiro said.

“Traffic congestion is also not severe in the area. There is also the possibility that Randburg will fall along the Gautrain route eventually. This all leads to many attractive features for tenants considering Randburg as their office destination.”

Emira owns one building in Randburg, valued at R25m, which CEO James Templeton said had been very profitable. Increased demand from investors was owing to Randburg being central to the northern suburbs, good public transport, and the likelihood of a Gautrain station there, he believed.

Broll Property Group commercial property broker Angie Stroebel said last week the offices in Randburg were being supported by strong-performing small shopping centres.

New residential developments would bring more people into the area and encourage companies to open offices there. Newer businesses had been the most active in the past five years.

Randburg was a “good area” for start-up companies that didn’t want to over-commit in the first few years, and for call centres seeking lower rent and access to public transport.

MultiChoice had shown confidence in the area with its newly completed head office measuring 35,000m2.

Smaller malls are convenient for shoppers and have become popular with many Randburg office workers.

Broll Property Group divisional director for strategic retail leasing Preston Gaddy said the Randburg CBD was dominated by the Randburg Square shopping centre, owned by JSE- listed Vukile Property Fund. “The centre is close to major transport hubs, and the recent redevelopment of the centre has proved to be quite successful.”

Vukile CEO Laurence Rapp said his fund was working on turning Randburg into a mixed-use development to service lower-income earners.

“We spent about R207m on upgrading Randburg Square Mall. That was our vote of confidence in the area. We now believe Randburg can become a mixed-use precinct for workers in the area. It can be more affordable than other mixed-use developments in Gauteng.”

Vukile will begin work on 180 residential units in September.

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