Sisa Ngebulana in R3bn new retail developments

Sisa Ngebulana and his team at Billion Group are set to cap their phenomenal story of black economic empowerment (BEE) by bringing to market a further two retail developments valued at more than R3bn.

The Billion Group announced yesterday that it has broken ground on two sites to deliver two lifestyle centres in Gauteng and the Eastern Cape. The two are Forest Hill City in Monavoni, Centurion south west of Pretoria and Bay West City in Port Elizabeth. Both will be styled as lifestyle destinations where shoppers will find an optimal mix of the latest in local and international retail brands as well as a diverse and exciting leisure offering.

“Billion has a solid reputation for delivering creative, highly functional developments on time and surpassing expectations. We are therefore very excited at the prospects of bringing these developments to market.” said Sisa Ngebulana, Billion Group’s Executive Chairman and founder.

The developer’s enviable track record includes the Eastern Cape’s landmark Hemingways Mall in East London and Mdantsane City which opened for trade in 2009 and 2008 respectively. The Billion Group became the first black commercial property owner to deliver a JSE listed property fund, Rebosis Property Fund, which was spun out largely from the group’s retail developments. Rebosis reported its financials for the year ended August showing more than 30% growth and 31.5% total return to shareholders. Ngebulana serves as Rebosis CEO.

Of the Billion Group new ventures Ngebulana said “We have significantly bolstered the team of asset and development management professionals at Billion and have worked relentlessly at bringing these developments to market. Pre-letting commitments from South Africa’s most exciting retail, fashion and leisure brands have been received for both Bay West and Forest Hill malls. The sites have been cleared, and earthworks are underway.” Ngebulana continued.

He said Bay West City – a joint venture development with Abacus – is poised to become Port Elizabeth’s premier upmarket lifestyle and entertainment destination. The R1,75 billion first phase construction of this major mixed use development will ultimately form part of a modern, integrated urban node with green spaces, residential and commercial units in a prime location.

Located only 10km from the Port Elizabeth CBD and airport, the 310 hectare development site is ideally positioned on the N2 highway, with two additional interchanges planned, in order to attract as high a footfall as possible. Infrastructure funding is being provided by the DBSA and SANRAL.

Planned as part of Port Elizabeth’s 2020 vision, Bay West Mall’s 86 000m2 will cater to an underserviced area, providing a substantial one-stop offer for consumers.

Over 80% of Bay West Mall’s national tenants have committed to the development to date, including banks, food, clothing and entertainment franchises such as Checkers, Pick n Pay, Game, Woolworths, Truworths, Edgars, Ster Kinekor, and the Foschini Group.

About Forest Hill City, the group said the development is located on a 66 hectare, highly visible site above the N14 Krugersdorp-Pretoria highway (the key connecting route between Midrand, Centurion, Sandton, Johannesburg, Krugersdorp and Pretoria) is well positioned to service the current 112 500 households in the primary catchment area.

Pre-letting commitments in excess of 80% of GLA have been received and includes top South African and international retail brands such as Woolworths, Edcon, Pick n Pay, Checkers, Clicks, Truworths and The Foschini Group.

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