24 Jan 2013
Nedbank has provided the Improvon Group with a R192 million loan to develop an exceptional, upmarket industrial park called Gosforth Business Park in Gauteng, which will set new standards in the sustainable building and development industry.
“Nedbank Corporate Property Finance has granted finance to the Improvon Group for the acquisition and reticulation of land in Gosforth Business Park, and the development of Phase 1, a 20 817 square metre warehouse with ancillary offices,” says Ken Reynolds, regional executive: Nedbank Corporate Property Finance, Gauteng.
Reynolds explains that this park, from an exposure point of view, will be the first such business park one comes across when entering Johannesburg from the South, just off the N3 highway, and aims to raise the high standards of all the other business parks and estates developed along the N3 from Johannesburg to Pretoria.
Founded and managed by Jorge da Costa and his four brothers, the Improvon Group is well-known in the property industry for delivering high-end quality industrial developments.
Since its inception in 1994, the company has completed numerous prestigious property developments, measuring a combined 500 000 square metres for blue chip companies and corporates throughout Gauteng, Cape Town, Brits and Nelspruit.
The Group is a majority shareholder in two significant co-ownership projects, the N1 Business Park in Gauteng and Montague Park, a 62 hectare industrial mixed-use development in Cape Town.
Improvon identifies prime land at market related prices and develops new, high specification quality buildings, which are then brought to the market at competitive rentals.
Da Costa notes that although the market is still experiencing significant vacancy rates, demand for optimally located and affordable industrial space is high with a lot of the remaining vacancies being limited to older, lower quality or specification stock.
Da Costa has always applied a speculative development strategy in his business model and this is certainly paying off for the Group, even in the last two years when the property market was hardest hit by the recession.
The Group has developed and invested in numerous properties for valued clientele that include Telkom, Siemens, Sony, Hi-Fi Corporation, Barloworld Logistics, Suzuki and Edcon.
The client has earmarked the property for the development of five warehouses, offering a total GLA of 76 810 square metres to be developed over the next four years in four phases.
The completed development offers opportunities for bulk distribution centres combined with a strong office and commercial component and will accommodate five specification-built warehouses. Reticulation has commenced on site and tenants are still to be secured.
Importantly, Gosforth Business Park is the beginning of a sustainable ‘Green Precinct’ that is being constructed with cutting-edge technology and building practices that are destined to become the industry standard, says Reynolds.
Stefano Contardo, developments executive at Improvon says: “We are proud to say that Gosforth Business Park's green features take sustainability to a new level.”
Contardo says this is a particular bonus for tenants, who are able to fulfil their moral obligations to reduce their environmental footprint at a minimal cost.
“The Green Precinct at Gosforth Business Park is set to be a flagship development for the Improvon Group.”
The company’s approach, from construction upwards, takes into account green principles, he explains.
For example, all material that was excavated is being crushed and reused, each building boasts a rain water attenuation system which harvests rainwater off roofs and recycles the water for use in toilet cisterns and, in order to reduce energy consumption, each building will incorporate a photo voltaic system which reduces tenants' reliance on traditional power sources from Eskom.
Contardo notes that, in any building, it is the HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) systems, which account for the lion's share – as much as 60 percent – of energy consumption.
“We are currently looking at ways to reduce the energy used by this system - for instance, we are investigating the installation of geothermal technologies that will help buildings maintain a constant temperature.
“Such a system would also render chiller units and heat pumps more effective,” says Contardo.
In the meantime, insulation to walls, floors and ceilings as well as double glazing to windows will be installed on all windows to regulate temperatures.
Contardo points out that this technique is more commonly used overseas than in South Africa, but it makes sense in the office environment where the major challenge is the regulation of internal temperatures to provide a comfortable working environment.
“This way, we reduce our reliance on air conditioning resulting in a reduced energy requirement and a saving for tenants.”
He also reveals that the precinct has introduced a centralised refuse area, and all rubbish is recycled.
Reynolds adds that Nedbank is committed to the environment and the sustainable conservation of South Africa and this partnership with the Improvon Group embodies that commitment towards striving for a healthy, clean and green urban and rural environment for all.
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