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04 Jul 2012

The wealthy suburb of Bryanston north of Johannesburg in Gauteng not only boasts upmarket homes but state-of-the-art properties that house cars.

In 2003, Hatfield Holdings bought a well located site along William Nicol Drive in Bryanston for R6.5 million, close to Bryanston High School and turned it into the state-of-the-art property, Hatfield VW Bryanston.

According to information on Wikipedia, Bryanston was first named as an area in 1949 and was established in 1969 as a suburb of Sandton.

Read more here.

State-of-the-art car property in Bryanston

In 2003, Hatfield Holdings bought a well located site along William Nicol Drive in Bryanston, close to Bryanston High School and turned it into the state-of-the-art property, Hatfield VW Bryanston.

The site previously housed residential homes bought for R6.5 million and the total land size in which the dealership property now sits measures 8 000 square metres while the property itself measures 6 000 square metres, says Brad Kaftel, managing director of Hatfield Holdings.

He says they chose the site because of its location along the William Nicol commercial strip with easy access in and out of the property directly from William Nicol Drive.

Although not a property expert, Kaftel knows that when buying property, it's about location, location and location.

He points out that there were a few other available sites, but this ticked all the boxes in terms of what they needed from the property.

Not only does it have enough space, the property is visible from a distance and the direct access to and exit off the property makes it easier for visitors wanting to buy new cars and keep up with the status quo if they live in Bryanston that is, or any other place for that matter.

The property which houses new and second hand VW, offers service for cars and sells car parts opened in April 2005.

Kaftel explains that they spent over R25 million on renovating the property and they spend between R50k and R70k on municipal rates and taxes monthly to service the property.

Asked if he didn’t think this is high for monthly services, he says he thinks it is a fair amount given the property location and also compared to other countries, South African commercial property remains reasonably priced, offering good value for money.

He explains that it is Hatfield Holdings strategy to own properties rather than rent whenever possible.

The group owns four properties in Gauteng and have bought a fifth property in Sunninghill (it will cost R80 million on completion featuring green elements too) to house the Audi Centre currently operating from rented properties located at the corner of Witkoppen and Rivonia Roads in Rivonia Johannesburg.

Kaftel says in December 2012 when the new property opens, the group will own five of the six properties.

The showroom layout based on Renaissance, Leon Alberti’s importance to the circle as an ideal geometric form and this is the dominant basic form of the interior.

“When you own the property, there is flexibility and it’s easier to work around property related costs than when renting,” he says.

Hatfield VW Bryanston is the biggest VW dealership brand in Johannesburg with 70 cars serviced daily while some 150 cars (old and new) are sold in this property monthy.

He says in all the six properties in the group, 250 cars are serviced daily and 60 000 are sold annually in Gauteng.

Kaftel points out that car sales almost doubled between March 2009 and February 2010 with 300 cars sold monthly and says the motor industry is very volatile.

In 2006 and 2007, he notes that they had great sales and the figures dropped during the recession between 2008 and 2009.

Hatfield VW Bryanston first rented a property for two years in Randburg before moving to these new premises.

Now rated highly for excellent service, the property is not the run of the mill kind of motor dealership, it has been designed to catch the eye with its interesting architecture.

Kaftel says they are way ahead of their competitors and their properties are uniquely different in terms of what the buildings offer.

Like all savvy property investors, they continually renovate and update furnishings to enhance the value of the asset.

It features a Seattle Coffee Shop in the reception area so one can enjoy a good cup of coffee while waiting to be served.

Property architecture  

Set within a residential area to the rear, careful consideration to the buildings overall height was taken into account so as not to detract from the street view and sun angles to the houses across the street, explains Amândio Castanheira, architect at Alchemy Architects cc.

He explains that all functions of the dealership are kept to the front limiting exposure of traffic and noise into the suburb behind.

Castanheira says the property’s architecture relies less on traditional concrete forms and more on fundamental architectural effects, frequently based on historical models.

The concept is based on the marketplace such as the Piazza del Campo in Siena, Italy and freed from the historical origin and reinterpreted into the present age, he says.

“The showroom layout based on Renaissance, Leon Alberti’s importance to the circle as an ideal geometric form and this is the dominant basic form of the interior.”

Within the showroom, enclosed spaces have been avoided and areas informally divided into different zones through which the visitor is free to move at will.

Castanheira points out the large glass surfaces contribute to the impression of spaciousness and openness, while natural light from the façade and skylight provide the ideal vehicle presentation within natural light.

Thin roof overhangs provide shading to the glass at varying times of the day.

“The showroom’s interpretation of the ‘piazza’ has been taken through from the entrance pedestrian portal as a striking feature in the façade and is reminiscent of a city gate.”

Buying a home in Bryanston

The suburb of Bryanston is characterised by lush homes set on large erven and many of these homes have now been sold to make way for luxury apartments and complexes.

Commercial activity especially that of motor dealerships is what makes for interesting sightings as one drives along William Nicol Drive from Sandton towards Fourways.

Motor dealership properties line up the roads from both sides and buyers are spoiled for choice from affordable cars to luxury ones.

Behind some of these properties are homes commanding prices suited to this wealthy suburb.

According to a WinDeed report, the highest priced property is valued at R72 377 644 million, costing R7 836 per square metre and measuring 9 237 square metres, the average price of property in Bryanston is R5 798 498 million at R1 8 77 square metre and measuring 3 089 square metres while the lowest priced property is valued at R462 000 at R155 per square metre measuring 2 975 square metres.

Click here for properties for sale in Bryanston and here for property reports.

The report reveals that between 2007 and 2012, there have been more freehold homes sold (1 527) than sectional title homes (1 003).

Castanheira points out the large glass surfaces contribute to the impression of spaciousness and openness while natural light from the façade and skylight provide the ideal vehicle presentation within natural light. Thin roof overhangs provide shading to the glass at varying times of the day.

The average price of a freehold home in 2007 was R2 950 million and 348 homes were sold, in 2009, the average price was R3 1 75 million (R3 575 million in 2008) and 254 homes were sold (272 in 2008).

In 2011, the average price had increased to R3.3 million (R3 275 million in 2010) with 342 homes sold (311 in 2010) and in 2012, the average price is R3.8 million and 14 homes have been sold, at the time of the report earlier this year.

The number of sectional title homes sold in Bryanston has declined from a high of 369 homes in 2007 to 231 in 2011.

The average price of a sectional title in 2007 was R924 500, R987 500 in 2008 (146 sold), R997 500 in 2009 (97 sold) and in 2010, the average price was R1 075 million and 155 sectional title units were sold in Bryanston.

In 2011, the average price increased further to R1 150 million with 231 properties sold and in 2012, the average price is R1 111 702 with five sectional title units sold.

Two farms were sold in 2007 with an average price of R750 000, according to the report.

Renting property for cars

For those passionate about selling cars but who cannot afford to buy, renting is an option, after all, some people are more interested in cars than real estate.

Located on 12th Avenue in Rivonia, Fury GM Rivonia is a motor dealership renting a property that measures 5 000 square metres.

Mike Goltman, dealer principal of Fury GM Rivonia explains that rentals vary from between R50 and R75 per square metre and the cost of servicing the property (rates and taxes) is about R40 000 per month.

Although located in a residential area, he says because the business operates during working hours, they have not encountered problems with residents in the area, when for example, cars are brought in for servicing.

Goltman explains that they have four legs of the business in this property, selling of new and used cars, servicing and selling of vehicle parts.

When car sales dip, they rely on other legs of the business and notes that they have the biggest volume of new car sales mostly, the small affordable type of vehicles.

The property is also ideally located a mere walking distance to the Business Centre in Rivonia and on one of the main busy roads which runs from Bryanston to Woodmead.

It would seem because car sales is all about customer service, service excellence is at the core of the business, from keeping the property clean and enticing to staff who go the extra mile to please and of course, the customer driving away with a vehicle that suits their pocket.

Goltman says security is very important as visitors to the property dropping off their cars for service need assurance that it is safe to do so.

Some 30 cars are serviced at this property daily with over 15 new cars coming into the property in one time, he says.

As with buying property, first-time car buyers need to understand their needs and assess that against affordability, he adds. – Denise Mhlanga

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