True grit: The power of passion and perseverance in Berea

Inland from Durban’s bustling CBD, lies the suburb of Berea. With its wide, leafy roads, combining elements of city living with suburban comfort, Berea holds a huge amount of potential for property investors, however, crime and decay have this once-desirable suburb in need of attention.

 

Dale and Lyndee Johnsen are looking to provide just that. Supported by TUHF financing, Dale and Lyndee are capitalising on Berea’s popularity by converting two office buildings on Clark Street into self-contained bachelor units. Change, even when it is for the better, is often a challenging process.

Dale and Lyndee have spent the past year waiting on council plan approvals, facing issues within heritage committees, and engaging local communities to address concerns over the building conversion.

“We faced opposition from both longstanding community members and foreign nationals running businesses within the area.

With a lot of hard work and many earnest conversations, we are pleased to finally be moving forward, having gained the respect of our community members. We understand that business is as much about relationships as it is products. Our community now knows us and can see the work we do and the value we are adding to the area,” reflects Dale.

With these hurdles overcome, construction is taking place at a rapid rate. The property previously consisted of two buildings: one double storey and one single storey.

Upon completion, both buildings will be two storeys high, each with multiple self-contained units. The first building was fully tenanted within five days of completion, demonstrating the demand in the area.

The second building is still under construction.

“We want to make a difference. We want to bring whole-scale positive change to the community while providing decent and affordable accommodation,” says Dale.

This is exactly what they are doing. To date, the construction project has created more than 40 jobs. Dale and Lyndee see this as a big plus for the community.

 

“It is hard to find buildings to purchase, so when you get an opportunity you need to give it everything you have to make it work,” comments Dale. Dale and Lyndee have been property entrepreneurs for a number of years. The couple attribute their success to perseverance and having the right team, from the right financiers, architects and building contractors, to the ideal property managers and rental team.

“The best part of being a property entrepreneur is the excitement of seeing the results of our hard work, seeing our vision become a reality, using equity and gearing to address the demand for accommodation,” says Dale.

“TUHF has been a great partner in this project, is easy to work with, and is accommodating in its support.

TUHF understands the business and is as eager as we are to make things happen.”

For Dale and Lyndee, the future looks bright as they continue to look for their next opportunity. “One property at a time, we will keep moving forward,” concludes Dale.

 

Facts:

Location: Berea, Durban

TUHF Product: Purchase and construction/conversion finance

Original Configuration: Offices

Configuration upon completion: Multiple self-contained bachelor units

 

From our 2016 Integrated Annual Report

 

True grit: The power of passion and perseverance in Berea