Sandton City expansion core to Liberty’s growth ambitions
Liberty Properties, a wholly owned subsidiary of wealth management group Liberty Holdings, has launched the refurbished Sandton City complex following an investment of R1.77-billion.
The refurbishment has resulted in a near-30% increase in the complex’s retail real estate. With R5-billion worth of development completed or near completion in the past three years, Liberty Properties is a key enabler of the wider group’s objective of becoming the leading wealth management company on the African continent.
Sandton City forms an integral part of the Liberty Balanced Property Portfolio (LBPP), which has delivered double-digit returns for investors for the past 27 years, outperforming bonds and cash by 6% a year over the past five years.
Over a ten-year period, LBPP has produced an average return of 15% on a straight line basis and continues to exceed its performance target of the consumer price index plus 5% a year over any rolling five-year period.
Commenting on the new extension of Sandton City, Liberty Properties CEO Samuel Ogbu says the rejuvenation and expansion of the precinct are part of the broader strategy within Liberty’s leading position in Africa’s property sector. “Liberty is expanding its offering beyond its traditional, domestic life insurance business into different wealth lines and geographies. Through the excellence of delivery on projects such as the Sandton City expansion, we move another step closer to achieving our objectives.”
Sandton City is situated in South Africa’s leading financial and business district and has set the pace for retail in South Africa for over three decades. When it opened in 1973, the shopping centre housed 120 shops in floor space of 50 000 m2.
Sandton City now boasts 331 shops, measures 143 995 m2, and comprises shopping facilities including a range of local and international brands.
Ogbu continues: “This significant invest- ment will enable us to continue delivering stable, inflation-beating returns to our policyholders. Following the successful completion of the complex on time and within budget, Liberty Properties will seek to leverage its expertise by growing its footprint outside South Africa in key African markets that offer signifi- cant growth potential, such as Levy Business Park, in Lusaka, Zambia’s first fully enclosed mall, hotel and office site, offering positive benefits to business owners and customers alike.
Supportive of Liberty Properties’ and the group’s strategic wealth creation, social development and empowerment goals, no less than 60% black economic-empowerment participation was achieved on the Sandton City rejuvenation development.
Further, a number of community pro- jects benefited from the development’s material reuse and recycling initiative, including the Chris Hani Hospital, resulting in the reopening of a previously unused children’s ward.