Ithala offers office space

2014-07-02 00:00

ITHALA Development Finance Corporation yesterday launched its first commercial office development, the R86 million Ithala Trade Centre being developed at the Point Waterfront Development.

Ithala Trade Centre is a redevelopment of Dolphin Whispers, an apartment block that Ithala had initially financed years ago, but which had failed due to poor workmanship and project management — it represents Ithala’s first foray into office space.

Ithala properties executive Beston Silungwe said the legal proceedings to recover funds from the erstwhile apartment block investment were ongoing, but he was not privy to the details.

The agreements were being signed with the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic, Environment and Tourism Affairs for some of its units to become anchor tenants.

The aim was to make the building a kind of “one-stop-shop” for new investors, and it would house, for instance, Tourism KwaZulu-Natal, and Trade and Investment KwaZulu-Natal.

Ithala holds significant property in the province with 1,2 million square metres of lettable industrial space, 55 hectares of vacant land, while its retail interests include 39 regional shopping centres.

Chief executive of Ithala Group Yvonne Zwane said the new office building would contribute to mixed-use development in the Point Waterfront area, which was a good place to sustain residential, recreational business activities.

The development comprises a nine-storey building with a lettable area of 9 595 square metres. Parking would be on two levels and provision had been made for restaurants and coffee shops on the ground floor.

Zwane said the property portfolio was central to Ithala’s development mandate of job creation and economic development of local communities.

Meanwhile, Eonomic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu said the current economic challenges would remain with the country for some time — the fact that the province grew 0,1% in the first quarter, while the national economy had fallen by 0,6%, was something to be positive about.

Mabuyakhulu said the department was streamlining the Environmental Impact Assessment and other Records of Decisions processes, so that it could provide a more timeous service to investors.

He said it was unlikely that foreign investors would want to do business in a country where its own people were “self-destructing”, by constantly casting their own country in a negative light.

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