SA’s largest property company, Growthpoint Properties, is teaming up with developer BlackBrick and unlisted landlord Setso Property Fund to create BlackBrick Bedford, a co-working and co-living mixed-use building in the east of Johannesburg.
Riverwoods office park will be turned into BlackBrick Bedford. This mixed use development will include more than 250 housing units as well as a hotel.
Growthpoint’s SA CEO Estienne de Klerk said this week in an update for investors that an ongoing challenge for the group and many other landlords, was filling office space. Many South Africans have chosen to work from home permanently and some tenants have wanted to reduce the space they rent out, since Covid-19 engulfed SA in 2020. The prime node of Sandton could be as much as a third vacant according to some analysts’ research. Landlords are even renting out parking spots which would have been used by the employees of tenants, to the public.
De Klerk said it would take years for SA’s office market to recover to some semblance of what it was pre-pandemic. He said Growthpoint regularly looked at how it could best use the space in its buildings. Residential conversions are being considered for certain of Growthpoint’s office buildings. The Riverwoods park was well-suited to a conversion.
BlackBrick Bedford is the developer’s fourth conversion project. Once completed, BlackBrick will have delivered more than 800 residential and hotel units to the market. These will be located across two sites both on Sandton’s Fredman Drive, one in Cape Town’s foreshore and BlackBrick Bedford.
The developers are planning on creating two more BlackBrick sites in Cape Town, one in Umhlanga in Durban and one in Mauritius.