The 5 000m2 The Mills in Newtown, Johannesburg is suitable for offices, restaurants or residential accommodation.
Ask any investor what tops their priority list for a sound commercial property investment and they will say a prime location, high visibility and high calibre of building are key factors, says Norman Raad, chief executive of Broll Auctions and Sales.
“Such properties in sought after commercial hubs and metropolitan areas like Johannesburg and Cape Town are considered prime investment nodes, home to a number of high profile, landmark properties.
“This is why they are sought after and generally tightly held by owners. Properties of such quality and with real intention to sell don’t often reach this platform and in most circumstances, seldom find their way to the open market. This makes our forthcoming auction on November 23 all the more relevant, as we have a number of notable properties available.”
These include Absa House in St Georges Mall, Cape Town; Nedbank Corner on Jorrisen and Biccard Street, and Anchor House on the corner of Biccard and Juta Street – both in Braamfontein, Johannesburg; and The Mills and the historic Silos which are both in Newtown in the Johannesburg CBD.
The 10 000m2, Absa house is in a prime location with sweeping views from the upper floors and parking for 38 vehicles. Raad says this property is ideal for corporate offices or would be suitable for a residential conversion. The building is in good condition and is bound to attract tremendous interest in an area where quality buildings have almost proven to be a rand hedge, with property growth in values increasing year on year.”
He says the well-known buildings in Braamfontein and Newtown in Johannesburg are also expected to be an attraction for all residential, student and commercial property developers. Prominently positioned, Nedbank Corner stands out in Braamfontein as a meaningful investment opportunity offering good retail and commercial potential. Incorporating 65 parking bays, the property has substantial, blue-chip tenants that include Nedbank.
Raad says Anchor House is also highly visible and suitable for almost any property investor with a vision and plan. The property will be almost completely vacant and presents an opportunity for a student conversion in an area where demand for this kind of accommodation is strong.
Undergoing urban renewal and regeneration over the years, Braamfontein is considered a hip and happening location reflecting an increase in demand for commercial space. The rentals are lower than in many other similar nodes, and with the rejuvenation of the CBD and upgrading and reinvestment in buildings, Raad foresees growing demand from commercial tenants.
“In addition, the increase in demand for student accommodation close to the university has had positive spin-offs for retail and other market activity in Braamfontein. Older blocks are being converted to residential student apartments at every opportunity as the demand for housing far exceeds the supply, with Wits short of 8 000 beds,” says Raad.
The Braamfontein properties are owned by a private fund which focuses on residential property and has decided to sell a number of its commercial buildings.
The Newtown landscape has changed drastically over the years and could soon become the Maboneng of Johannesburg West. Wedged between the CBD and Fordsburg, Raad says the 5 000m2 The Mills is a remarkable property suitable for trendy offices, restaurants or residential accommodation.
“The building houses the DA party and with a little vision and TLC could become one of the most interesting redevelopments in Johannesburg.”
The Silos, also in Newtown, was once a grand residential conversion concept which unfortunately never got off the ground. Of significance is the meaningful income of R1.3 million a year which this property generates by means of a massive advertising billboard which is seen from afar. Raad expects developers, media and advertising industry role players to be keen to acquire a slice of Johannesburg’s advertising skyline.
The Newtown Silos site is an integral part of the former Crago Flour Mill site which is a relic of late–nineteenth century and early twentieth century flour milling. During this time milling was characterised by large city mills, positioned to gain ready access to railway transport for the supply of grain and delivery to markets.
The entire site including railway sidings, silos, storage area, machinery and signage illustrates the evolution of wheat handling methods and the revolutionary change, spurred on by new design and construction techniques, from bagged to bulk grain handling during the 1920s and 1930s.