John Ross Group Soil Turning
Counsellor E. F. Mbatha, Mayor of the City of Umhlathuze, and Mr Michael Mabuyakhulu, MEC:Economic Development,Tourism & Environmental Affairs, together with STANLIB and Liberty Properties, celebrated the official ground breaking for John Ross Eco Junction last week.
Land owner Liberty Group took transfer of the land in April 2014 and, following the conclusion of the first tenant deal which saw a ten year lease being signed with Tangawizi Motors (which represents Hyundai, Daihatsu, Renault and Honda), construction has commenced for the four motor dealerships, with anticipated completion in early 2015.
Maurice Mdlolo, Managing Director of Liberty Properties, notes, “An important aspect of the project is local job creation. Whilst the development has been designed and will be managed by Liberty Properties, a locally based contractor has been appointed to carry out all building work for the development – the first step towards ensuring that John Ross Eco Junction is entrenched within the local community.”
The development, which is well positioned within the City of uMhlathuze, is situated at the intersection of the N2 Highway (linking Durban and Pongola) and the John Ross Parkway (which connects Richards Bay and Empangeni). The area has been identified as a high potential development node for its easy access to railway, seaport and airport facilities.
Another strong draw card for tenants is that John Ross Eco Junction will be developed in an environmentally sustainable manner with specific focus on rainwater capture, permeable paving, renewable energy sources and the conservation of indigenous plant life.
“Based on the keen interest that we are receiving from potential tenants, including additional motor dealerships and warehouses, we anticipate this development to become a cornerstone of the Richards Bay business community,” Mdlolo says.
Alex Phakathi, Fund Manager for the Liberty Property Portfolio in STANLIB Direct Property Investments Franchise, comments, “The development of John Ross Eco Junction is an important step in the process of bringing greater diversity to the Liberty core portfolio by extending its reach into industrial property. The acquisition is strategic for Liberty Group, mostly because of its ability to facilitate sectorial and regional diversification.”
Phakathi concludes, “We are pleased to be involved in John Ross Eco Junction and see this investment as a boost to economic growth. We have no doubt that the growth opportunities will play a key role in the economic upliftment of the area and surrounding communities.”