Nu-Hold: Township property market still has legs

For a moment, forget the mega opulence that seems to be defining trends in property development news of recent times.

There is still considerable action to be had from the catch up game of previously redlined areas, the townships. In this angle, as opposed to the overbearing opulence the secrete word is convenience.

Who knows this better than Nu-Hold, which owns Krisp Properties and Nu-Way Housing, and is known for pioneering property ventures into the hidden middle income groups in South African townships.

The company has announced that Krisp and its sister company Nu-Way is set to break ground on 5,000m² shopping centre in Cape Town’s Langa township later this year, alongside the revamped Langa train station. The group has also received the go-ahead from Johannesburg municipal authorities for the residential and retail development on 12 hectares of land along the R55, in Olievenhoutbos.

In a statement released this week the company said South Africa’s townships are increasingly being preferred over upper income suburbs for the development of convenience shopping centres.

This comes as city suburbs become increasingly saturated with shopping centres, while demand for the same centres in townships is increasing.

According to Jordan Mann, director of national development group Nu-Hold, township shopping centre development was yielding positive results for the group.

The residential component of Olievenhoutbos, built by Nu-Way, would consist of 114 stands of about 200m² each, as well as space for an “institutional stand” which could comprise of a church or community centre, said Mann. Krisp Properties would be responsible for the development of a 9,000m² “neighbourhood shopping centre” called Olive Wood.

The group was among the first private developers in the country to invest in convenient township shopping centred when it broke ground in Johannesburg’s Ebony Park in the early 1990s on affordable and low-cost housing.

“When we did that, we put aside space for the retail development to create employment when the residential stands were completed,” said Mann.

When Krisp Properties broke ground on Ebony Park Shopping Centre after completing the residential development, work began on a 2,500m² Super Spar. The centre, through demand from the community, has since been expanded by Krisp into a 4,600m² development comprising of a food anchor, clinic, pharmacy, banks and ATMs, a hardware store, a community IT training centre, a post office and various other line shops, said Mann.

“The demand for such developments in the township continues to grow. Residents want the same convenient shopping that is available in the suburbs,” Mann said.

Mike Ioannou, managing director of principal contactor on Ebony Park, Aura Developers Consortium, said before the project broke ground “there were very few shops and they were very expensive for the community”.

Residents had to travel long distances to do their shopping, Ioannou said.

“After the completion of the first phase of Spar, it became obvious that the project was successful not only for the developers, but also for the tenants.

“Most important for the community was that they could not only do their shopping conveniently, but jobs were created.

“There is definitely a great demand for township shopping centres which in turn add value to the community.”

Mann said he was hoping to break ground on the Langa Shopping Centre by mid-year.

“We are addressing a major need for retail in the area. Retailers have been clamouring for us to get this centre up and running,” said Mann.

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