Property Flash


April 24 2024 19:30

The shopping centre, BT Ngebs City in Mthatha, Eastern Cape, has transferred from Billion Group to the hands of retail specialist co-owners, Flanagan & Gerard Property Group and Vukile Property Fund (JSE: VKE). The R800m priced acquisition began in 2022 and has now been finalised, with each owner holding an equal share in this regional shopping centre. Billion is a developer founded by Sisa Ngebulana. He laos founded and listed Rebosis Property Fund.

Vukile which was founded in 2002, has co-owned retail assets with other groups for a number of years.

The transfer signals the green light to commence with major refurbishment plans to bring the mall in line with higher standards of the new owners, while improving the overall retail experience for customers from this community and its surrounds.

The redevelopment of the regional mall will bring significant improvement in its dynamics, flows and synergy with the neighbouring Mayfair Hotel and Casino, said Vukile and Flanagan & Gerard .

Escalators connecting the basement carpark directly to the retail level will be introduced to streamline flow and interaction, create ease of access and shopping convenience. Mall lobbies will be introduced to the basement parking level, connecting the new escalators to key tenants on the retail level above. Tenant signage will be vastly improved giving customers a sense of direction and comfort with the mall layout.

New owner-operated restaurants and better landscaping will contribute to the revitalisation of the precinct, offering a more engaging and appealing experience for visitors from the region, the owners said.

The current tenant mix which includes Pick n Pay, Checkers, Woolworths and Clicks. Its fashion brands, include Truworths, Foschini, Edgars, Mr Price, Ackermans, Refinery, Archive, Timberland, Fabiani, G-Star Raw, Spitz, Soviet and Bogart Man. Queenspark and Pick n Pay Clothing have recently joined BT Ngebs City.

Paul Gerard, MD at Flanagan & Gerard said BT Ngebs City had all the ingredients to “be an exceptional retail asset in our portfolio”.

“Its great location, access and visibility make it a popular shopping destination. We are excited to work with Vukile to unlock the mall’s potential and performance and offer shoppers a wider choice of attractive retail,” he said.

Itumeleng Mothibeli, MD SA at Vukile said the mall served a crucial customer base within the South African retail sector and expanded the fund’s existing investment in township and rural malls.

“It is an asset with excellent potential. Vukile’s investment and active asset management, together with that of Flanagan & Gerard, will continue the positive social and economic influence of BT Ngebs City for customers and communities in Mthatha and the region,” he said.

Flanagan & Gerard and Vukile have collaborated on various retail property initiatives, and they are now joint owners of three property assets. Their other co-owned assets include Thavhani Mall in Thohoyandou, Limpopo, and Springs Mall in Ekurhuleni, Gauteng. Vukile has also partnered with McCormick and the Moolman group in the past.

Mothibeli said Vukile was always in the market for acquisitions and that this deal was its best in years.

“We like brownfield acquisitions which are sizable at 40 000 square metres or more. Partnerships are core to what we do. We want to acquire assets which show extreme value. I think this is our best deal in five years,” he said.

Flanagan & Gerard and Vukile which each spent R400m on BT Ngebs. The mall was bought from Billion Group. Rebosis has been in a business rescue process.

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