News/Insights

South Africa’s property sector, in general, has shown poor performance during the Covid-19 pandemic. Property stocks have taken a significant hit, where retail and commercial office space have been hit hardest and even some industrial property holdings have been affected. And none of these markets are showing signs of recovery yet.

Lower-income affordable housing – and inner-city housing in particular – has performed better than most other property markets in South Africa over the same period. Residential property as an asset class in South Africa, when compared with other international markets such as the US and Europe, is a very small sector. Hence, its performance in the face of the pandemic speaks to the resilience of inner cities, and the opportunities that lie in urban densification.

The urban densification imperative

Urban densification is a national imperative. It is happening, as part of a natural demographic trend that happens as countries develop. It happened in Europe in the 1700s, and in America in the 1800s, as people flocked to cities for better access to food, security, entertainment and services. It is now happening in Africa and South Africa is no exception. But South Africa’s urban development, and its approach to making housing investments in particular, have contributed to enormous and unsustainable urban sprawl as people continue to flock to urban areas and inner cities.

Urban densification is also happening at a much larger scale than people may believe. According to the Centre for Development and Enterprise (CDE), 70% of South Africa will be urbanised by 2030, with more than 60% of the country’s population urbanised already. However, it must be managed carefully to avoid creating urban decay in the process.

Meeting this challenge cannot be done with the traditional property development approach of building single, large scale and often comparatively expensive projects on the periphery of our cities. Due to space pressures within the existing urban landscape of most inner cities, urban densification must take the form of many less expansive projects that rely on ordinary people with local knowledge for their success. We are seeing small and medium-sized developers taking up opportunities to develop projects between R1m and R100m, and we expect this phenomenon will continue.

This means that metros will have to change their processes and redirect their capacities if they are to play a role in managing this trend and ensuring it happens in a way that enables and uplifts communities. Urban management and collaboration with private investors, and the communities themselves will be key to successful urban densification. Such collaboration can also free government resources up to focus on infrastructure development and town planning for these regenerated areas.

In this way, urban regeneration contributes to making better use of existing physical and social infrastructure, as well as promoting local economic development and thus inclusive economic growth.

Access to goods and services

Inner cities are multi-sector economies that, when managed well, attract pedestrians, commercial activity and reliable tenants and stimulate new businesses. Urban densification in South Africa continues to increase as people seek affordable, decent accommodation with access to physical and social infrastructure, as well as reduced commuting time and costs. The daily commute, for example, sees 20% to 40% of South Africans spending 2-3 hours of their day and 30% of their monthly income on getting to and from work.

As people increasingly move to the inner cities to reduce their living costs and/or gain access to better facilities and amenities, the opportunity to invest in inner-city rejuvenation and refurbishment projects increases. There’s room for smaller players in this space to take advantage of this trend by investing in multiple small projects – around 20 units at a time – and refurbish or repurpose existing buildings rather than investing in large-scale green fields projects that require sizeable tracts of open land to build.

A positive fiscal impact

The final driver behind inner-city investment is the knock-on effect on the greater economy. To put this into context, while RDP housing developments certainly serve an important purpose, these developments often have a net negative fiscal impact. They require additional services and ancillary infrastructure development in areas that have none, and people living in these developments often struggle to pay for services such as utilities, rates and taxes.

In contrast, a certain level of urban densification is necessary for economic and social action. It contributes to economic development at a micro level, which is by its nature inclusive. Stimulating the economy in localised spaces – one city block at a time – is critical to uplifting people from poverty. This is what we refer to as impact through scale – developments that bode real benefits in transformation through diversity, accessibility and economic inclusion. We, therefore, expect to see more investment in mixed-use developments in inner cities that are underpinned by this ethos and include retail, entertainment, educational and faith-based facilities rather than purely housing-focused developments.

This approach stimulates micro-economies in the immediate surroundings of a development so that urban densification largely has a net positive fiscal impact. It not only stimulates economic growth but attracts people that are more likely to be able to pay for services, rates and taxes. These projects also require less upfront investment, as they make use of existing infrastructure that can be refurbished or improved.

People are already investing in inner cities, financing important urban development to create urban densification projects. It is a phenomenon that is already shaping our urban areas. The market trend is extraordinarily positive, and for government and private investors, the opportunity lies in helping to ensure that these investments are regularised and contribute to inclusive wealth creation.

Greening the inner-city through massive-small impact
Samson Moraba, Chairperson of the Board at TUHF and Sqiniseko Mbatha, Financial Analyst at TUHF, share their views on the importance of adopting a green building approach to urban regeneration.

There is much debate in the market – from science fraternities to professional services firms and environmentalists – on the benefits that green and sustainable building principles promote. TUHF, a member of the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA), has long been committed to investing in South Africa’s inner cities and has adopted the green agenda from inception. Through its membership, engagements with international and multilateral funding agencies, TUHF has direct exposure to the latest developments in green and sustainable building practices.

As commercial property developers adopt green building as best practice more frequently, residential developers are beginning to do the same. Property entrepreneurs in the inner-city are no exception.

A powerful driver has been a rampant increase in utility costs in the country. Sqiniseko Mbatha, Financial Analyst at TUHF says, “Between 2006 and 2016, electricity prices have increased by more than 300%. This has pushed our clients, and the market in general, to look at mitigating the risks of these spiralling costs.”

Although previously building green was considered “too expensive”, the reality today is that the technology has become more readily available and this is driving costs down with the return-on-investment benefits of incorporating green technology becoming clearer. For example, tenants are increasingly considering the cost of utilities when making their overall rental cost decisions and this gives them a more comprehensive affordability comparison.

“More and more property entrepreneurs have explored ways in which to contribute to sustainability by creating green assets using things such as heat pumps, solar options, and LED lighting. Our financing has benefited from this with the creation of more resilient building assets. This has become the impetus behind the need to come up with a more formalised green practice,” Mbatha continues.

In 2018, TUHF received technical assistance from one of its funders to develop a concept of what a green inner-city building would look like. TUHF then started developing a methodology for what this building strategy would encompass and act as best practice for all green initiatives going forward. In collaboration with several institutions, TUHF standardised this green build approach and formalised it with the introduction of the Luhlaza (meaning ‘green’) Initiative.

Massive impact, one unit at a time

While buildings might look the same, the focus is on extending the economic life of a building through green initiatives. Properties that have these elements in place are more resilient and hold their value for longer. This in turn bodes more long-term value for investors and developers.

“We are looking at people who want to shore up their business with long-term resilience,” Mbatha says. “Today, adding green elements to a building has become financially feasible. For example, five-years ago LED lighting was considered too expensive and now it is virtually part of standard development practice. The market is quickly getting to a point where being green is no longer an option but instead integral to creating a quality asset and to retaining tenants.”

The pandemic adds momentum

“From the pandemic experience, there are two focus tracks that we see influencing the adoption of green and sustainable buildings,” says Samson Moraba, Chairperson of the Board at TUHF. “Firstly, that buildings generally (whether an office or apartment building) have a significant role to play in combatting COVID-19 because this is where people come together. This means that buildings can be used as part of the prevention and containment measures to combat the spread of the virus.”

“Secondly, the condition of buildings becomes an important consideration. This is where the issue of green buildings becomes prevalent as these buildings offer enhanced measures to control and prevent the spread of the virus. This includes things like promoting natural light and ventilation in the building design, the quality of building materials and indoor spatial planning for physical-social distancing,” he continues.

With both financial and human health factors driving greening residential property, TUHF is working hard to back Luhlaza up with finance and demonstrate how their buildings are contributing towards establishing green environments that are feasible over a long-term. It has been difficult to gain traction in the residential environment because of the unique energy make-up of each building. Ultimately, TUHF’s focus is to ensure that the end-user benefits the most from green initiatives.

“At TUHF we remain passionate about our Massive Small vision – to create impact through scale. This vision is central to the ethos of the Luhlaza Initiative, which aims to connect investors who want to invest in a green product and property entrepreneurs who want to create green assets that will not only contribute to their portfolios but also positively impact the environment and society,” Moraba concludes.

Entrepreneurs crucial in SA’s recovery Bonga Xulu
According to Bonga Xulu, Johannesburg Regional Portfolio Manager at TUHF, SMMEs have a crucial role to play in South Africa’s economic recovery as the COVID-19 pandemic remains an ongoing concern.

Research by McKinsey & Company cites that SMMEs represent more than 98% of businesses in South Africa, employing between 50-60% of the country’s workforce across all sectors, and are responsible for a quarter of job growth in the private sector1.

However, SMMEs in South Africa have been hit hard by the pandemic. In fact, analysis by McKinsey & Company predicts that more than half of local SMMEs may close their doors permanently before the crisis passes1. Given the significant direct and indirect contribution of SMMEs to the economy, their survival and rebound will be critical to the country’s overall recovery.

What makes entrepreneurs so important

There are several reasons for this, Xulu says. “The first is the proven ability of small businesses to have a positive impact on unemployment rates.”

“There are many international studies that indicate the importance of a thriving SMME sector in creating jobs and contributing to reducing unemployment,” Xulu says. “This is because they are often less cautious about hiring people, with little or even no experience, than their large corporate counterparts. SMMEs also tend to promote on-the-job skills development for less experienced individuals, who are willing to grab opportunities and make the most of them.” 

The second is SMMEs’ ability to be agile and responsive to changing market conditions and client needs. “Large enterprises often have a lot of policies, processes and procedures that are necessary to manage large workforces and product or service portfolios. But these can hamper their ability to adapt to change or provide tailor-made solutions for clients – particularly in a crunch,” he says.

Xulu indicates that SMMEs are seldom hindered in this way, allowing them to be more innovative, at a faster pace, and even disrupt the industries in which they operate. “Amazon, Uber and Airbnb are just some of the most well-known examples of entrepreneurial vision. Once introduced to market each of these businesses quickly disrupted traditional dynamics of their respective industries – and have since grown to become multinational businesses operating across territories.”

Lastly, in tougher market conditions, smaller businesses offering niche and specialised services through an outsourcing model can, and should, be leveraged by larger entities, to effectively support their growth strategies. “By partnering with SMMEs to outsource non-core business functions, or to access niche skills that may not be available in-house, established large organisations can invest constrained resources in their own recovery and business continuity. In doing this, established companies also play a role in enterprise development by empowering up-and-coming small entities,” says Xulu.

Opportunities for budding property entrepreneurs

“Urbanisation in South Africa is ongoing, as young people continue to flock to our three major cities – Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban – to seek out opportunities,” Xulu says. “This trend makes investing in residential property in these inner cities a good opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs because they show consistent above average demand and returns.”

Residential rentals are increasingly in demand in the inner cities as people seek out affordable accommodation with access to amenities and reduced commutes to work. “Systematically developing a property portfolio – such as starting with one’s own small apartment and adding to this as one’s finances grow – puts budding entrepreneurs in a position to build capital that could open doors for becoming property entrepreneurs,” he continues.

Capital and a good track record of managing rentals on a smaller scale is an important first step towards becoming a property entrepreneur. “Entrepreneurs have a responsibility to start out with their own capital, and demonstrate their dedication and ability to run a business successfully, before they approach investors,” Xulu believes, “and a small property portfolio is a great way to do this.”

From here, and with access to funding and the right support and advice, it is possible to grow a profitable, successful SMME.

Funding and advice

“Entrepreneurs who want to grow in the property market should look for funders who understand their market, not only because they are more likely to invest with them but, perhaps more importantly, to gain access to niche business and financial advice,” Xulu recommends. “Because entrepreneurs are often not financial experts – and budding property entrepreneurs come from all walks of life – this access to niche financial and business development advice becomes more and more important as the business grows.”

As an example, entrepreneurs who want to acquire a property for refurbishment in the inner city are more likely to succeed in their application for funding and gain access to expertise in this market from a specialist in inner city rejuvenation than from a traditional commercial bank. Take for instance how one approaches construction and tenanting for the inner-city environment, which could differ greatly from how to approach these in the suburbs.

The right finance provider will also provide the most appropriate financial education for the entrepreneur’s area of interest, ensuring a good working relationship between the two and ultimately increasing the chances of successfully growing an SMME.

“Despite the ongoing difficulties SMMEs face in surviving the pandemic, there is still opportunity to thrive in a post-Coronavirus future, however, focus needs to be given now to supporting SMMEs – through sustainable and scalable initiatives.  Without this, positioning the country better for economic inclusion and enablement becomes far more challenging,” concludes Xulu.

References

  1. How South African SMEs can survive and thrive post COVID-19, McKinsey & Company – https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/middle-east-and-africa/how-south-african-smes-can-survive-and-thrive-post-covid-19#
Were-hiring

JOB TITLE: EQUITY ADMINISTRATOR

REPORTING LINE: Equity Executive

ROLE PURPOSE:  To develop and implement administrative structures to support equity deals and interests, implement governance administration, monitor and track portfolio administration and monitor and maintain CIPC compliance and administration

Role Requirements are:

• A relevant degree or equivalent in Commerce, Finance or similar is required

• A minimum of 5 years’ experience in a contract administration, legal administration role is required

• Experience in a commercial property or conveyancing environment is preferred

The key areas of responsibility for the incumbent will be as follows:

Key Performance AreaActivities
Contract Administration• To coordinate the drafting of contracts by receiving the brief, engaging with the relevant service providers, providing instructions and following up on submission of draft contracts as required
• To facilitate signing of contracts by receiving contract comments and amendments, engaging with service providers to coordinate amendments and finalisation, scheduling signing with relevant parties and securing signed contracts as required
• To maintain contract files by securing signed contracts and filing contracts both electronically and in hard copy files as required
• To maintain security documentation by reviewing contracts, identifying relevant security documents required, including security documents in the contract pack, confirming signing and return of security documents and filing of documents in contract files as required
• To file all contract related correspondence by identifying correspondence and filing in both electronic and hard copy files as required
Company Compliance Administration• To implement CIPC amendments by identifying changes, preparing relevant documentation for submission to CIPC, submitting and confirming change in status on CIPC (including resignation and appointment of Directors etc.) as required
• To maintain share certificates by tracking contractual shares allocations, receiving share certificates, confirming alignment with share allocations and filing share certificates electronically and in hard copy as required
• To coordinate amendments to MOIs by receiving required changes, providing information for the amendment of the MOI, following up on drafting of the amendments, securing approval of the MOI, lodging the MOI with CIPC and filing the documentation electronically and in hard copy as required
• To maintain CIPC registration of companies by tracking renewal dates, submitting information to facilitate renewal and monitoring implementation and validity at CIPC annually and as required
Portfolio Administration• To implement FICA compliance by sourcing relevant documentation and filing electronically and in hard copy as required
• To coordinate receipt of financial information by requesting and receiving monthly management accounts and annual financial statements, forwarding documentation for review and approval and filing finalised document monthly, annually and as required
• To maintain insurances on buildings and companies by monitoring insurance renewal schedules, requesting and/or organising insurance renewal quotes, securing proof of insurance and filing as required
• To monitor building compliance certificates by developing a compliance renewal schedule, following up on compliance certificates, identifying areas of concern and escalating for resolution, and filing compliance certificates as required
Governance Administration• To schedule Board meetings by developing a calendar, securing time from relevant participants and scheduling meetings annually and as required
• To prepare Board packs by sourcing board reports, reviewing reports, compiling draft board packs, submitting for review and approval and distributing to Board members as required
• To administer Board meetings by securing attendance registers, taking minutes, drafting resolutions and submitting for approval and filing as required
Asset Administration• To assist with asset administration by receiving property performance reports, analysing trends and variance in rental income, arrears, vacancies and maintenance expenditure, drafting reports and submitting for review and approval monthly and as required
• To monitor utilities status by tracking payment of utilities accounts, identifying areas of risk and referring concerns for resolution, following up on corrective action and providing feedback monthly and as required
• To support construction project administration by receiving progress reports, tracking progress with project plans, identifying variances and reporting on these, taking minutes in site meetings and creating and maintaining project files as required
• To secure valuations by sourcing service providers, receiving approval for appointment of service providers, receiving valuation reports and submitting for review and approval as required
General Administration and Support• To manage diaries by booking meetings in line with requirements
• To prepare for meetings by securing participants, booking venues, preparing meeting equipment and distributing meeting packs weekly and as required
• To administer meetings by preparing and distributing agendas and taking minutes
• To make travel arrangements by booking flights, accommodation and car hire, developing itineraries and communicating as required
• To provide administrative support by preparing presentation, drafting correspondence, taking messages, securing information and providing feedback daily
20%• Whatever it takes

KEY INFLUENCES:
Internal
• Legal and Compliance
• Operations
• Compliance and Governance
• Finance

External
• Service providers
• Equity partners
• Insurers
• Municipalities
• CIPC

Suitable and qualified applicants who meet the above requirements should forward a complete CV to Palesal@tuhf.co.za no later than close of business on the 6th November 2020

The Future is Still Urban

Embracing inner-city revitalisation for a new world

Urbanisation is one of the most important drivers of both social and economic life. Most of the world’s economic innovation occurs within
cities and large metropolitan areas, and these are the places that prosper the most. Cities are like the Internet: they connect people.

Katherine Cox, Research, Development & Innovation Manager, says: “Research indicates that 80% of the world’s wealth is created in cities. People in cities thrive on the opportunities for work and play, and the endless variety of available goods and services.” Cities are where people find opportunities, especially women in the developing world. They are also the perfect testbeds for new innovations. Currently, there is massive urbanisation occurring not only in South Africa, but across the continent. This can be attributed to the significant economic opportunities to be had.

PROXIMITY CRITICAL
“Sharing spaces has become integral to this urbanisation. People are now reliant on affordable transport even if that means walking or cycling to where they need to go. This makes proximity critically important. People are therefore attracted to the idea of being able to live and access retail, commercial areas, education, social amenities
and their work within walking distance. To this end, inner-city living is becoming a key building block for the future of urbanisation,” she says.

Advanced cities such as Amsterdam in the Netherlands, Bristol in England, and Melbourne in Australia, are already developing plans that prioritise circular economics and climate resilience. Cities have prolific benefits other than basic needs, housing, and jobs. These include universities, cafés, art galleries, restaurants, and cultural facilities.
Yet, they also have traffic, overcrowding, crime, pollution, and disease.

“Cities, particularly in the developing world, are already facing rapid urbanisation. More than half the world lives in cities. By 2050, this will be two-thirds with 380 million new urban dwellers expected to have arrived in African cities. After all, it is in cities that we experience the power of proximity and economic opportunities,” she adds.

PANDEMIC CHANGES
Under the growing urban agenda, it has become clear that building sprawling, car-centric cities no longer works. Prior to COVID 19, cities were focusing on sustainable development, increasing density, resilience, and smart urbanism while remaining cognisant of the rapid
urbanisation and massive housing and infrastructure backlogs also taking place.

However, cities and urban populations have started undergoing a radical shift – from the dream of ownership to that of interdependence and sharing. Out of economic necessity, citizens either choose to or are forced to share living spaces, occupy micro-apartments, and invest in
bike and car shares. Furthermore, shared working spaces are giving rise to inclusive cities with inclusionary housing and crammed multimodal public transport hubs.

“Some are arguing that the COVID-19 pandemic may appear to be one of anti-urbanism, with dense urban areas
being the hardest hit in terms of infection and mortality statistics. Yet, cities have always faced severe challenges. For example, terrorism, and xenophobic and religious fundamentalist attacks repeatedly buffer urban areas. Cities have been the epicentres of infectious disease
since the time of Gilgamesh and they have always recovered and will continue to grow,” says Cox.

A NEW ORDER
Having said that, some aspects of cities will need to change; fear of density may push some to rural areas while others will see the reverse happen. Ambitious young people will continue to come to cities in search of personal and professional opportunities. The creative
class may be drawn by lower rents, thanks to the economic fallout from the virus.

Buildings and public spaces may be retrofitted for social distancing. There will also be longer-term trends affecting cities such as digitalisation of retail and work, leading to a repurposing of office spaces and malls. Most cities are seeing a shift to micro-mobility schemes including walking and bikes with increasing numbers of streets being pedestrianised and the number of dedicated bikelanes increasing.

“If anything, the pandemic has highlighted the importance of being able to access more green spaces in cities. There is an increasing demand for such public open spaces that are well-managed, cleaned, and more reflective of a post-pandemic world. This will see the green city
approach become essential as the high cost of services such as electricity and water are driving people to become more self-sustaining and ultimately moving off the grid,” adds Cox.

Such post-pandemic developments, therefore, create opportunity to promote smart density in the affordable housing space through TUHF, Intuthuko, and uMaStandi, as well as green investment through Luhlaza. Cities are resilient because their inhabitants are resilient.

“At TUHF, we believe in a ‘Massive: Small’ approach. This is implementing and financing small scale entrepreneurs in a way that is scalable and replicable to have a bigger, more inclusive, and sustainable impact than mega-projects, for example. We believe in how people from the street are becoming entrepreneurs and scaling up in previously unimaginable ways. The future of the urban environment will centre on these projects as people start looking at more innovative ways of living,” concludes Cox.

TUHF INNER CITY PROPERTY CONFERENCE 2019

TUHF takes a long-term view to developing inner cities in South Africa. Despite the many challenges, the prospects for inner city residential property remain strong. The demand is ever increasing: South Africa needs safe, low-income rental housing close to people’s places of work and TUHF is poised to meet this need on ever-increasing scales.

TUHF Limited hosted a one day conference on Wednesday, 30 October 2019 gathering industry players from the public and private sector involved in inner city development including inner city property investors, development agencies, listed property funds, property managers, brokers and the media. 

The conference created a platform for sharing thought-leadership between various inner city parties to activate growth, by discovering future investment opportunities and common benefit for all inner city players. 

National Inner City Trends – Prof Francois Viruly

National Inner City Market Research – Hayley Ivins-Downes

Site Disruptions in the Construction Industry: Reasons and Challenges – Andile Zondi

Finance’s Influence on the Housing Market – Kecia Rust

TUHF Online Property Course

TUHF Online Property Management Course

TUHF presented an Online Property Course on the 15th of October 2020. The event was hosted by the CEO of SA Property Investor’s Network, Andrew Walker and presented by a panel of experts.

What was the Course about?

The Property Management Course covered the following

  • What have been the important Property Management lessons arising from the COVID-19 pandemic?
  • Could Property Management be done differently?  
  • How has the management of rental collections changed?
  • Selecting and screening tenants- what have been the necessary changes arising out of Covid-19?
  • Maintenance of property amidst reducing rental income- how do you prioritize maintenance in such times?
  • Should property investors use an external property manager or conduct this service on their own?

Date: 15 October 2020 (past event)
Time: 11h00 to 13h00
Venue: Zoom

Panel of Experts

Henry Chitsulo, Director of Bold Moves, has 25 years of experience in investment banking, real estate and property development. He was previously a Director responsible for BEE funding in the Real Estate Investment Division at Standard Bank and National Manager of Property Equity Investments at ABSA.

David Beattie, is the author of The Expert Landlord book, and the founder of The Expert Landlord website and PocketLet, a mobile app for private landlords. David also founded Chorus Letting, a leading residential property rental agency managing 2000 properties across Cape Town and Johannesburg in South Africa.

Solly Ramalamula, TUHF Client and Managing Director of Take Shape Properties. Take Shape Properties is a company that specialises in managing a number of buildings in the inner city on behalf of other property investors. They also own and manage a number of their own buildings which they have rejuvenated and transformed.

How do you access a copy of the recording? 

Pay

Non-TUHF Clients can make a payment of R250. TUHF Clients may access the recording at no cost. 

Send your information to marketing@tuhf.co.za

Once we received your details we will send the Zoom Link to you via email. 

Realising the potential of embattled Cape York
The Cape York building in Johannesburg’s CBD has risen from the ashes to fulfil its potential

Previously owned by the Bank of Mozambique and abandoned, Cape York had been hijacked and fraudulently sold, with several “owners” allowing it to become severely overcrowded and collecting rent illegally. It was infamous as a hub for drug trafficking and prostitution, lacked running water, power and sanitation and had seen two fires that claimed lives.

From hijacked to hope

Hijacked buildings like this have become all too common in South Africa’s inner cities. These high-rises have not only become dangerous to live in but pose a threat to neighbouring buildings, impacting social safety as a whole.

Cape York, situated in Doornfontein on the corner of Nugget and Rahima Moosa Street, epitomised the negative impact of hijacked buildings on neighbourhoods and society. Originally a 10-storey office building with retail shops on the ground floor, employees who worked in the building started living there in 1997. As the building became more neglected, more people moved in, leading to severe overcrowding.

To compound this issue, the building was fraudulently sold to a group of investors – a discovery the appointed attorneys made during the transfer process. Once this was legally rectified, Samuel Beyin saw potential in the embattled building and bought out the shareholding of the Cape York owned entity.

Despite calls to simply demolish the then-derelict building after a second fire claimed seven lives in 2017, Samuel was determined to realise the building’s potential and transform it into a viable and safe rental property. He renamed the building Focus 1 and invested his own capital before approaching TUHF for a loan. The total cost of the project including refurbishment was close to R100 million.

“Focus 1 represents the very essence of what TUHF aims to achieve by investing in inner-city property refurbishments – seeing and realising the potential in run-down buildings and declining areas to transform them into safe, secure environments for people to live and thrive,” said Nano Makwela, Portfolio Manager at TUHF.

Bringing vision to life

The Focus 1 project took a property entrepreneur with courage and conviction to realise its potential. TUHF was thrilled to partner with Samuel’s passion and drive to help bring his vision to life.

The project presented many design, technical and construction challenges. But Samuel and TUHF focused on the opportunities to collaborate and resolve these creatively. The expected completion date was March 2020 but – because the finished building would provide student accommodation for up to 538 young people – Samuel and his team pushed through over the festive season to achieve practical completion on 28 January, well ahead of programme and in time for the new year.

Makwela said: “Even though Samuel’s previous experience was mainly in commercial property, his entrepreneurial drive to implement creative solutions and an understanding of what students want from accommodation has led to the success of this project. Focus 1 proves that affordable accommodation doesn’t have to feel cramped or meet low-cost standards to be profitable.”

The refurbished building consists of spacious two-bed and four-bed unit apartments as student accommodation offering, and communal study and social areas on the 5th floor. Each apartment is leased fully furnished, incorporating beds, cupboard and clever additional storage solutions under the beds that may be used to store textbooks and other study paraphernalia, as well as private bathrooms with a toilet and shower, a small kitchenette with a sink and eating area.

The building has full communal kitchens, with microwaves and stoves where students can prepare meals, as well as social areas to allow tenants a safe and comfortable space to interact and relax. Wi-Fi, laundry facilities, an in-house gym, a library, football and basketball fields, state-of-the art biometric access to ensure safety and transport to and from campus complete the list of amenities that make Focus 1 such a sought-after home for students.

The surrounding universities were then invited to view the building in January 2020 and at the time they immediately started referring students to take up tenancy. While tenanting the building was temporarily affected by the impacts of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the national lockdown and physical distancing measures to support containing the spread of the virus, tenancy is expected to pick up once onsite classes and attendance at the surrounding universities is allowed to resume – and toward the 2021 academic year. In addition, the innovative building design is future proofed and constructed in such a way that it allows for fluent conversion. Should the market change, Focus 1 can easily be converted to normal apartments for rental stock should the owner decide.

A bright urban future

Cape York’s past was brutal and terrifying. It once stood as a symbol of the city’s growing urban decay.

“But now, Focus 1 manifests TUHF’s belief that by the action of extraordinary entrepreneurs the future is indeed urban. This project demonstrates TUHF’s unrivalled ability to catalyse growth and urban regeneration not only through funding but, more importantly, through our ability to innovate,” concluded Makwela.

Samuel Beyin is already looking at further opportunities with TUHF and intends to pursue additional projects like this as soon as possible after the COVID-19 pandemic subsides.

Facts

  • Location: Corner of Nugget and Rahima Moosa Street, Doornfontein, Johannesburg CBD
  • TUHF Product: Property Finance
  • Original configuration: Hijacked 10 Storey Building
  • Configuration upon completion: 538 BedStudent Accommodation
KATHERINE COX –TUHFWOMEN

We at TUHF just loving Women’s Month this August. We have taken this opportunity chat to some of TUHF’s most influential woman, and gain some insight into their lives on both a professional and personal level by delving into their property insights and preferences.

1. What impact do you think women’s right to vote had on our country?

Women’s right to vote added untold value on all levels to society. Women have great understanding and insight into many of the issues that impact and affect our communities and the country at large.

2. Describe yourself in 3 words?

Excited, Fun, Tenacious

3. What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Adventure, travel, yoga, art & design, spending time with my friends and family

4. How do you conquer fears?

I face my fears. Fear is worse if not faced head-on.  .

5. In this day and age what is the biggest challenge facing woman in South Africa?

The biggest challenge facing women today is their lack of belief in themselves. Without a women’s confidence in her own abilities, she can only stand for so much. True change and empowerment can only come when the South African woman starts understanding that no one is coming to save her, she needs to wake up, have faith in who she is and become her own superhero!

6. What has been the biggest risk you have ever taken?

Starting a new life with literally nothing but the clothes on my back. I walked away from abuse and in getting where I am today, I had to make a decision to become my own liberator. I slept in train stations, scared and alone, but today I am a much stronger woman than I have ever been.

7. Any advice for women who want to start a Career in this industry?

Go for it. Keep focused on your goal and don’t give into anything that tries to stand in your way.

8. What is your take on property investments?

You need a serious amount of patience as they are one of the most stable asset classes BUT very long term. NEVER SELL the property that you invest in!

9. What would you say is your biggest achievement so far?

Being a mother…..my job and career that I love so much…Being the only person in my family ever to get a degree, managing to feed seven hungry mouths and hopefully making a positive impact in urban life for everyone.

10. What message of inspiration do you have for the women of South Africa?

You are awesome and stronger than you think!!! – JUST DO IT, onwards and upwards!

VELDA DERROCKS TUHFWOMEN

We at TUHF are celebrating Women’s Month this August. We have taken this opportunity interview some of TUHF’s most influential woman, and gain some insight into their lives on both a professional and personal level by delving into their property insights and preferences.

1. What impact do you think women’s right to vote had on our country?

It gave women a voice – it is our right to be able to contribute and be part of decisions that impact our lives and that of our communities. We must be willing to use the voice that other women before us fought so hard for and give our all to strive for true equality and not be apologetic about it.

2. Describe yourself in 3 words? 

Engaging, energetic, passionate

3. What do you enjoy doing in your free time? 

Spending time with family, travel and reading

4. How do you conquer fears?

I tend to break down the situation into its component parts and rationalise it by looking at how others dealt with similar situations and usually end up saying to myself that if others can do it, I can do it as well.

5. In this day and age what is the biggest challenge facing woman in South Africa? 

The single biggest challenge is Gender Based Violence (GBV) where the ones that women should be trusting most, end up being the ones hurting them. 

6. What has been the biggest risk you have ever taken? 

In 2003 when I was working at Absa in the Business Banking Division, I got the opportunity to join the Commercial Property Finance team as a Consultant. I had no experience in Commercial Property whatsoever and always viewed the industry as one that was male-dominated. Needless to say, it was a massive risk as I was doing well in general business banking at the time. I took the risk and made the most of it. I was supported by a brilliant male mentor who invested time, effort and patience to teach me a lot of the technical aspects in the field and also introduced me into the various networks. I’ve never looked back since. My take-out from this has always been to surround yourself with like-minded individuals, don’t be scared to ask questions and never stop building a strong support network.

7. Any advice for women who want to start a Career in this industry? 

Go for it! Make sure you connect with other like-minded people in the industry and work hard to establish your network.  The worst that can possibly happen is someone saying no. Even then, Be persistent!

8. What is your take on property investments? 

Property is a wealth creation vehicle and should not be used to make short term gains. It can be likened to a seed that eventually grows into a solid tree. It takes time, effort and patience.  Most importantly, you must have an investment strategy and know why you are investing into property. Ultimately, your strategy will guide your behaviour and appetite for risk.

9. What would you say is your biggest achievement so far? 

I’ve always been known for my work ethic. I derive satisfaction from good performance and achievements. My most notable achievement was working as a property finance consultant for 3 of the major banks (Absa, Standard Bank and Investec) and being part of the deal teams that structured some of the most interesting deals in the Commercial Property Finance industry. I gave my all into learning and developing myself in order to do my job well. I read, did research and continuously developed myself by attaining various qualifications, including an Honours Degree in Finance and 2 Masters Degrees.  All this enabled me to do my work remarkably well, as well as preparing me for my long-term career in South Africa’s property industry.

10. What message of inspiration do you have for the woman of South Africa? 

Do not ever sit back and wait to be served at a table. Make sure that you are visible enough (in deeds and/or words) to be acknowledged and respected. And if you do not get acknowledgement and respected, do not hesitate to move along and create your own table. As women, we stand tall on the shoulders of those women who fought hard for our rights and do not be afraid to lean in and lend a hand to another woman. We cannot expect others to empower us, we need to empower ourselves.