Property company pumps millions into Berea Centre upgrade

2008-07-10 00:00

Property company ApexHi’s R70-million investment in the Berea Centre complex — covering both the retail and residential aspects — has signalled an encouraging willingness to upgrade an area of Durban that for some years has remained largely forgotten and even neglected.

ApexHi MD David Rice recently told The Witness that ApexHi are expecting to generate development profits of R19,5-million in respect of the sale of Berea Lofts.

The company have pumped R17 million into the conversion of 7 000 square metres of office space into 133 sectional title residential bachelor apartments.

The news comes on the back of the company having invested R53 million in upgrading the well-known 50-tenant Berea Centre, which attracts 517 000 shoppers every month.

Rice said that the company found it difficult to achieve rentals for the office space that would support the necessary upgrade to the building.

Although the residential market has taken significant strain in recent months, Rice said that more than 80% of the units have already been sold.

Berea Lofts, a section of the ApexHi-owned Berea Centre, is reputed to be the first conversion of its kind in Durban and was handled by Aengus Properties, who carried out similar projects with ApexHi in Johannesburg.

The units are aimed at middle-income earners.

Overall, the company anticipates profits of R13,5 million this financial year and a further R6 million in the next financial year.

Rice said the company remain optimistic about the prospects of South African cities, adding that they also have interests in other established properties such as Pine Parkade and a well known building on Smith Street.

To this end, ApexHi have also invested R8,5 million in an additional 160 parking bays at Pine Parkade in Durban.

kavith@witness.co.za

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