18 Oct 2011
The property will become the regional head office complex for FNB, Rand Merchant Bank, Wesbank and FNB Commercial aimed at serving its client base better.
Howard Arrand, chairman of FNB Gauteng Provincial says the property is the bank’s continued investment into the City of Tshwane and its commitment to sustainable and responsible development.
He says that this multi-million project will bring all its business under one roof as they are leasing offices in the city at the moment. FNB will take occupation of the building in February 2013.
“We strongly believe in the economic growth potential of Tshwane and the building of the Menlyn office complex is part of our continued investment into the city,” says Arrand.
He explains that the City of Tshwane apart from its importance as seat of government for the country is the most sought-after business corridor gateway to the new wave of mining activity just north of the city.
There is unprecedented growth of business traffic through to Zimbabwe and beyond. The revamped airports, new six lane motorways between Johannesburg and Tshwane and the recently commissioned Gautrain are some of the infrastructure pointing to growth potential of the city, he says.
We want to contribute to and be part of Tshwane’s growth story and hope that through developments such as this we will contribute significantly to jobs and income generation in the province, specifically in the local construction industry, he says.
The One FNB Building will be owned under sectional title by FNB and Growthpoint Properties, the largest listed property company on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange by market capitalisation.
It will have two separate office blocks of 15 080 square metres and 9 880 square metres respectively featuring four basement levels, a ground level and five levels of office space.
Designed by architect Boogertman & Partners and principal contractor Steffanuti Stocks, the specifications of the building surpass the normal criteria of a commercial building with raised access flooring for flexible voice, data, power reticulation to workstations and significant emergency power backup installations, says Arrand.
Arrand says energy efficient technology has been specified in the air-conditioning, power and lighting installations.
“The building will be managed by FNB to conform to internationally recognised standards for environmental and safety operational criteria encompassing environmental best practice methods in respect of waste recycling, energy efficiency and safety.”
FNB says it is open for commercial business and buying its own property as opposed to renting makes sense financially and is committed to the city’s economic growth.
Michael Vacy-Lyle, chief executive officer of FNB Premium Business Banking says of South Africa’s four big banks, FNB came as a late contender in the commercial business space.
“We are now focused on growing the business and want to bring FNB clients who have borrowed finance for commercial purposes from other banks back to FNB,” says Vacy-Lyle.
He says while the bank’s competitors are cautious and slowing down on commercial lending, FNB has seen a lucrative opportunity to enter the market and grow its customer base.
“We intend focusing on good sectors, locations and we are quite bullish in making a mark in this space.”
Asked about property sectors the bank is looking to invest into, he says certain industrial properties currently buoyant in Gauteng East, areas around the OR Tambo International Airport in Ekurhuleni and Midrand.
He describes Gauteng as a location with lots of industrial properties worth investing into.
He says they are not as bullish in office buildings as they believe supply outstrips demand. As for commercial buyers looking to be financed, he says they are seeing a lot of owner-occupied businesses coming into the market.
These buyers are quite conservative on borrowing and instead of renting, they see value in buying the property.
Vacy-Lyle says the bank is cautious on shopping malls but remains optimistic about investing money in industrial properties and owner-occupied properties.
“We are open for business and looking to grow our book and we feel now is the right time as a bank to invest into the commercial property space.”
Why invest in the City of Tshwane?
The executive Mayor of the City of Tshwane, councillor Kgosientso Ramokgopa says the commitment by FNB to invest in the city’s sustainable economic development standards has been commendable.
He says Menlyn Park in the City of Tshwane is the node to invest into thanks to its connectivity to major road routes to Johannesburg, parts of the north, easy access to the N14 and Witbank.
“Menlyn Park is an established node, corridor to the east and there is still available land for developments,” says Kgosientso.
The city will soon introduce the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system from Pretoria station to Menlyn to further increase connectivity and enhance economic growth within these two corridors.
He says the BRT alignment project costing R1.8 billion from the national government has been completed. This is for the roll-out of the BRT from Pretoria East and south and these areas have been chosen because there is existing roads infrastructure which further reduces costs.
Kgosientso told Property24 that these are exciting times to be investing into the City of Tshwane and the city aims to market and position itself as the preferred investment destination in Gauteng.
One of the things that investors should be excited about is the city’s strategic plans on how it views investments and ways in which to encourage investments and stimulate economic growth.
The introduction of the Policy Strategic Investment Attraction Retention and After Care is a plan aimed at fast tracking investor business and development approval with the city within 34 days, a process which usually takes 34 months.
To qualify for approval under this policy, he explains that investors will have to meet the requirements of doing business within the city’s eight sectors including manufacturing, green economy, retail, agriculture, tourism and business outsourcing among others.
He says the city has committed itself to remaining a leader in the green economy as demonstrated by some of its recent developments embracing the green economy.
Luxury motor dealership, BMW in partnership with the city has committed itself to establishing a green plant in the City of Tshwane.
He says the city will soon introduce a By-Law on design which governs the way in which energy is used in buildings and how these designs add value to and contribute to the overall energy usage and green economy aspect within the city.
In the current financial year, the City of Tshwane created 38 000 jobs and aims to create 375 000 jobs in the next five years.
“Menlyn is without a doubt the next area of economic growth in the City of Tshwane,” says Kgosientso. – Denise Mhlanga
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Denise MhlangaProperty journalist at property24.com
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