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JSE-listed Fortress, the owner of commuter retail centres and logistics parks, has launched The Fortress Invitational, a golf tournament, which is part of The Sunshine Tour. It will be played at the Ebotse Links golf course in Johannesburg from October 7 to October 9 2022.

Fortress focuses on developing and letting premium grade logistics real estate in South Africa and central and eastern Europe, as well as a commuter oriented retail portfolio which currently comprises 52 shopping centres.

The three day televised inaugural golf tournament will celebrate a field of more than 120 professional players, returning to the course for the first time since March 2021, all competing for the prize fund of R1.5m.

The Fortress Invitational is expected to draw a field of youth and experienced golfers, including Albert Venter, the current Luno Order of Merit leader and two time winner this season already, first time winners Herman Loubser, Dylan Mostert and Anthony Michael, and Jayden Schaper who will be playing his home course.

They will join Sunshine Tour regulars: Jaco van Zyl, Neil Schietekat, Jean Hugo, Jaco Ahlers and Hennie Otto.

Ebotse Links is the only inland Links course in South Africa and is a Peter Matkovich Signature design golf course with seven holes on the water and has been built to US PGA specifications.

Steven Brown, CEO of Fortress said his company was giving a vote of confidence to SA.

“As South Africa’s leading logistics developer, we pride ourselves on partnering with clients to power their growth through providing innovative real estate solutions. Now we get to power growth in South African golf. Our belief is that The Fortress Invitational offers local players the opportunity to grow and succeed in their careers, with the possibility of representing South Africa internationally through the addition of this tournament to their schedule,” he said.

He said the idea of adding a Links styled course contributed to greater variety on the Sunshine Tour schedule.

“Ebotse is situated close to our biggest logistics development to date: our flagship premium-grade Eastport Logistics Park. Once complete, the co-investment with Pick ‘n Pay will produce one of the largest distribution centres in Africa – a development spanning 164,000m² on a site of 360,000m², that will give Pick ‘n Pay a distinct competitive advantage and advance Fortress’s long-term aim to dominate in logistics warehousing,” Brown said.

Thomas Abt, commissioner of the Sunshine Tour said his team was very excited to announce the new Fortress Invitational.

“With the addition of the Fortress Invitational we have now built up a very strong schedule that allows Sunshine Tour professionals to remain competitive throughout the year as they prepare for our co-sanctioned tournaments with the DP World Tour, and which in turn gives them that opportunity to take their careers to the next level,” said Abt.

Fortress is a well-known Reit which is growing its asset base with a focus on its logistics parks.

Ryan Eichstadt, Head of Investor Relations and Corporate Finance said the company had an impressive pipeline and that there was about 302 630m² of GLA across its logistics parks still to be delivered.

This equated to a total equity capital requirement to complete the parks of circa R3.1bn.

“It is important to note that of this, Fortress’s share is around R2.3bn given the undivided share 65% ownership at Eastport Logistics Park and 50.1% share at Cornubia Logistics Park,” said Eichstadt.

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