Waterfall City development forges ahead – including a ‘new concept’ Courtyard hotel

Real estate investment trust (REIT) Attacq has published its financial results for the year ended June 2020, presenting a “satisfactory” performance for the year, despite obstacles presented by the Covid-19 pandemic and national lockdown.

Attacq has a diverse  property portfolio that includes the retail, hotel, office, and mixed-use and light industrial sectors.

The group said its 2020 financial year can be split between pre-and-during-Covid-19, ending June 2020.

Attacq published its interim results on 3 March 2020 which until that point saw the company on track to meet the upper end of its distributable guidance for the full year ending June 2020.

“Taking into account the challenges the group faced during Covid-19, the South African portfolio performed satisfactorily with net profit from property operations, excluding the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) adjustment for straight-line leasing and the net proceeds from the sale of sectional title units, increasing by 10.1% to R1.4 billion.”

On a like-for-like basis, net profit from property operations increased by 4.2%, before taking Covid-19 related rental discounts into account.

However, due to complications from the Covid-19 crisis, core distributable earnings per share declined by 10.5% to 73.1 cents per share, while the net asset value per share declined by 25.8% to R16.45.

The group said its local portfolio valuations decreased by 8.6% on a like-for-like basis.

Rental income increased by 7.4% to R2.2 billion after taking into account rental discounts of R102.9 million. The overall occupancy rate decreased marginally from 93.8% as at 30 June 2019 to 93.6% as at 30 June 2020.

Attacq declared an interim dividend of 45 cents, but no final dividend was delivered in-line with most listed companies who have opted to preserve cash.


Developments

Despite the challenges presented in 2020, Attacq noted that its premier developments are still progressing – most notably in Waterfall City. During the financial year, eight buildings completed in Waterfall with a further four buildings under construction.

Attacq said that developments in the Waterfall precinct progressed as per expectations during the year, despite the temporary closure of construction sites during lockdown.

The total asset value of developments at Waterfall, including the Attacq Sanlam joint venue (Waterfall Junction), decreased to R1.7 billion (2019: R2.3 billion). The reduction is due to the completion of the eight developments, as well as lower levels of development activity, the group said.

The group’s gross asset value of the entire existing South African portfolio is R20.4 billion (2019: R20.5 billion).

R1.2 billion in developments were completed at Waterfall, which include:

  • Deloitte’s head office (Q4 Fy20)
  • The Ingress building 2 (Q3 Fy20)
  • The Ingress PSG Wealth (Q1 Fy20)
  • Waterfall Corporate Campus (Q3 Fy20)
  • Waterfall Point building 1 (Inventory)
  • Waterfall Point building 2 (Q2 FY20)
  • Waterfall Point building 3 (Inventory)
  • Waterfall Point building 4 (Q2 FY20)

Four other developments are in the pipeline, as well as some ongoing developments at The Ingress.


Waterfall Corporate Campus

Waterfall Corporate Campus is a 50/50 joint venture with Zenprop Property and its subsidiaries. Four (21,882 sqm) of the seven office buildings, and the centrally located communal facility that includes a conference facility and restaurant have been completed.

The estimated total primary gross lettable area (PGLA)  for this development is 35,000 sqm, with an approximate total development cost of R880 million.

Attacq said that construction on a speculative basis for the fifth building is making good progress and is expected to be completed in the third quarter 2021 with lease negotiations under way for 100% of the space. The remaining two buildings will be developed in a phased approach, based on market demand.


Nexus Waterfall

Nexus Waterfall comprises three office buildings and a ‘new concept’ four-star Courtyard Hotel, which is leased to and will be operated by the City Lodge Hotels Limited for 15 years.

The total campus PGLA is estimated at 32,000 sqm at an estimated total development cost of R925 million. Construction of the 10-storey, 168-key hotel has commenced at an approximate development cost of R1.3 million per key and is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2021.

Construction of the three office buildings will be rolled out in a phased approach subject to market demand, with building one under lease negotiations.


Ellipse Waterfall

Ellipse Waterfall, located on a prime city gateway site opposite the Mall of Africa, is a 50/50 joint venture with Portstone Development.

This development is the first high-rise residential development in Waterfall City, named after celebrated astronomers: Newton, Kepler, Cassini and Galileo.

Construction of Phase 1 is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2022. The development has sold over 75% (based on bankable sales) of the 269 apartments in the Newton and Kepler towers (Phase 1).

In excess of 20% (based on bankable sales) have been achieved in Phase 2, Cassini tower (± 180 units) to date. Phase 3, Galileo tower (± 150 units) is in the early phases of design.


Midi warehouse 4

A 4,757 sqm midi warehouse including an office component was under construction at year-end. The design of the building is based on the completed midi-unit scheme within the same land parcel. Practical completion was reached in quarter 1 FY21.


The Ingress

The Ingress is a five-building office park prominently located at the entrance to Waterfall City. Phase 1 consists of offices for PSG Wealth, which took occupation on 1 August 2019 as well as a speculative building which is 10% let with the balance of 3,937 sqm under negotiation.

The remaining three buildings (approximately 11,700 sqm) will be developed in a phased approach subject to market demand.


Waterfall Junction

Attacq, through a joint venture between Sanlam Life Insurance Limited, has access to a further 686,054 sqm of industrial developable bulk.

The group has been appointed as the development, property and asset manager for the joint venture.

The development of Waterfall Junction has been activated with the design and commencement of a bulk water pipeline as well as roads and other infrastructure. This infrastructure project will unlock the development in the coming years, it said.


Read: Waterfall City developments top R2.4 billion – including a massive new warehouse for Nespresso

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Waterfall City development forges ahead – including a ‘new concept’ Courtyard hotel