Akani Properties, a 100% black-owned property development, management and investment company has announced it is investing more than R600 million in new shopping mall developments and refurbishments.
In anticipation of a post-Covid-19 economic recovery in the next twelve to eighteen months, the company is to invest R370 million in the Autumn Leaf Mall development in Zeerust (Ramotshere Molia Municipality) in the North West as well as R228 million on upgrades to the Glen Village Mall in Faerie Glen, Pretoria East.
“This investment is testament to our belief that the worst is behind us, and the recovery of the economy is on the cards” says Zamani Letjane, Managing Director of Akani.
Letjane notes that the improved management of any future Covid-19 waves and the rollout of the vaccine programme will improve South Africa’s prospects in the medium to long-term, despite the current setbacks.
The 20 000m2 Autumn Leaf Mall is due to open in September 2022. Zeerust, a transit town on the N4 highway between South Africa and Botswana, is one of the growing economic nodes in the province also known as Bokone Bophirima.
The Glen Village upgrade project in Pretoria East entails the full refurbishment and extension of the mall which is scheduled for completion in November 2022.
Akani’s bullish outlook on the commercial property sector is boosted in part by better-than-expected retail numbers – which the Bureau for Economic Research (BER) said were at a six-year high – as consumers start spending again, buoyed by low interest rates. Letjane expects interest rates to remain low even as consumer inflation recently hit a thirty-month high of 5.2%.
To mitigate against any possible disruption to the power supply, all Akani’s new developments will have renewable energy generation capacity to reduce dependency on the already constrained Eskom power generation.
“Moreover, we are retrofitting existing buildings with solar PV for their captive power consumption,” he says.
“As long-term investors, we have taken a long-term view on South Africa’s economic recovery. We are also at an advanced stage of developing more shopping malls around the country as we seek to boost our portfolio of retail properties,” Letjane concludes.