Gauteng Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  02 Oct 2008

Finance: Old Mutual-Kerr partnership targets mixed use projects


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A partnership by the Kerr Group, a Gauteng-based property development company, and Old Mutual Investment Group Property Investments will undertake a range of sustainable mixed used projects throughout South Africa over the next 10 years.

The companies said in a joint announcement that the partnership would apply Kerr’s in-house expertise, design philosophy and social investment programmes to support OMIGPI’s long term investment objectives.

Len Sloan, managing director of the Kerr Group, said the company was looking forward to further expansion after completing more than 30 projects in its 15 years of operation.

Ben Kodisang, managing director of OMIGPI, said projects in rural communities such as the Hubyeni Shopping Centre in Elim, Limpopo, and the Nzhelele Valley Shopping Centre in Dzanani, Northern Province had established Kerr as leaders in sustainable rural development.

“The key objective of our partnership is to create sustainable attractive mixed-use precincts that are flexible enough to incorporate core social needs of communities and can be viable commercial environments in under-serviced areas,” said Kodisang.

“The main spin-offs to the communities will be the construction-related employment and skills transfer during development, the permanent employment associated with the commercial precinct and the facilities provided to the benefit of residents. “

Kodisang said Kerr’s development of the Hubyeni centre, owned by the OMIGPI-managed SA Corporate Real Estate Fund, was a telling example of the approach being targeted by the partnership.

Five hundred permanent jobs were created through the opening of the centre at Elim, 21km southeast of Makhado (Louis Trichardt).

“A total of 635 local people were employed during the construction of the R83 million centre, and 63% of the site workers were women. In addition, women employed by Mashamba Thondoni Potters hand-made 10 000 tiles for the centre. Local women were also assisted in setting up a cleaning company contracted to service the centre. A local security company is manning the control centre and providing patrol guards.

“Kerr also built a library, two soccer fields, a change room and toilet block for the local school. “

The Hubyeni centre was among nine turnkey shopping centres anchored by Spar which Kerr is developing.

Other Kerr developments owned by SA Corporate Real Estate Fund are Willow Way Shopping Centre, in Lynwood, Pretoria, and Cullinan Jewel Shopping Centre, in Cullinan, 50km east of Pretoria.

Kodisang said OMIGPI, in a separate initiative, would sponsor the building of giant cement chess boards outside Kerr–developed township malls. These would serve as community activity centres where children would be taught to play the game.

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