Melomed signs 20 year lease at John Ross Eco Junction

Construction of the Melomed Hospital that is currently underway at the John Ross Eco Junction in Richard’s Bay

The Liberty Property Portfolio continues to diversify its investments in line with its growth strategy. The Portfolio has for the first time added healthcare to its range of assets with the conclusion of a 20 year lease agreement with wholly black owned private hospital group, Melomed Richard’s Bay Proprietary Limited.

The new state-of-the-art healthcare facility will consist of a 100 bed, 10 000sq metre hospital at the John Ross Eco Junction in Richard’s Bay. Development will commence in the 3rd quarter of 2015, with completion expected at the end of 2016. The development is a joint partnership between Liberty Group and Tuscaloosa, who will co-own the property and operate as landlords of the R220m healthcare establishment.

Speaking of the deal, Head of the STANLIB Direct Property Investment Franchise, Amelia Beattie, said, “Melomed is a significant player in the rapidly developing healthcare industry in South Africa. It will be a prime, value-adding tenant within the Junction and provide a vital service to the wider community. The Liberty Property Portfolio is always finding new ways to strengthen its composition to benefit our investors, and I believe Melomed will be a strong tenant that will enhance the Portfolio’s returns.”

The portfolio has traditionally been weighted towards retail, with assets including some of South Africa’s prime super-regional shopping centres. Among these are Sandton City and Eastgate in Gauteng, Midlands Mall in the KZN and Promenade Shopping Centre in the Western Cape. The highly skilled investment team is now focused on diversifying into light industrial and office property to add further value to shareholders, and the signing of Melomed as an anchor tenant is in line with this strategy.

“As fund managers our role is to find innovative, fresh ways to channel our clients’ investments into areas that will deliver solid returns over the long-term. Not only do we seek growth, but opportunities that will benefit the communities we operate in”, said STANLIB Fund Manager, Alex Phakathi, who manages the overall Portfolio.

The John Ross Eco Junction is a diversified commercial and industrial development across 30 sites on the property. The hospital will primarily serve areas around the greater uMhlathuze municipality which includes Richard’s Bay, Empangeni, KwaMbonambi and Mtunzini.

Ismail Bhorat, Executive Director of Melomed, says, “Melomed will play an important role in delivering quality, affordable healthcare to the community. This will be our first foray out of the Western Cape Province. Our aim has always been to ensure that healthcare is accessible to all developing and emerging communities. It is in line with our vision to provide sustainable, affordable and state-of-the-art healthcare.”

Dr Lungile Masuku from Tuscaloosa, the company that has been awarded the hospital licence said, “We are pleased to be involved in this investment and development which will bring healthcare services to the local community while boosting economic growth in Richard’s Bay and the wider economy.”