Gauteng Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  30 Jun 2009

Property: Growthpoint Enables Online Leasing and Property Searches


Recent Gauteng Business News

JSE ALSI 40 listed Growthpoint Properties is the largest listed owner of diversified commercial property in South Africa, with assets exceeding R30 billion and a market capitalisation of more than R18,1 billion.

As phase 1, this online service will highlight opportunities which exist within Growthpoint’s office portfolio and will also speed up and streamline processes of concluding new leases.

“‘Space to Let’ is designed to offer an enhanced service to our clients and property brokers, while optimising Growthpoint’s property management service and specifically the leasing functioning,” says Growthpoint Properties Limited CEO Norbert Sasse of this innovative digital leasing tool.

‘Space to Let’, which is accessed from the website, will launch at the end of June 2009 with access to a database that lists available space in Growthpoint’s some 140 office buildings, representing some 1,2 million sqm of business space.

Capable of incorporating the company’s entire property portfolio, the company’s retail and industrial properties will also be included as the site becomes established.

“The portal uses the latest technology and supports a lightning-fast search function enabling users to view office properties that fall within their specific criteria,” says Rudolf Pienaar, Growthpoint Divisional Director, Office Portfolio.

Pienaar adds that many existing and prospective clients experience time constraints and business pressures, and this service will therefore offer a win-win solution, for both commercial property seekers and Growthpoint itself.

‘Space to Let’ is designed for ease of navigation and provides full details for every property proffered by the search-engine. Information includes square meterage, site and layout plans, pricing and a full colour photograph of the property. An accompanying email enquiry form also gives the user the option of contacting the relevant Growthpoint consultant.

The site also offers online documentation, including offers to lease and leasing agreements. “Saving our clients valuable time, this helps to speed up the process, from finding a property to concluding the paperwork,” says Pienaar.

‘Space to Let’ has been internally developed by Growthpoint. A team lead by our own Business Analyst Essop Bash and under the technical lead of Veren Maharaj, and developers Nthabiseng Mohlakoane and Namrata Hegde took the better part of three months of continuous work to bring the project live.

Alec Davis, who heads up Growthpoint’s IT, explains that the platform is built on a Microsoft SQL data warehouse presented via a Microsoft SharePoint internet portal. One of the technical challenges the team faced was the integration of information extracted from the SQL data warehouse with a SharePoint list.

A significant amount of development time was dedicated to testing and training, with the Growthpoint office sector team playing a vital role in ensuring that the site is populated with the correct information.

Updated at least once every 24-hours, Davis explains that the ‘Space to Let’ portal interfaces with Growthpoint’s internal property management system Nicor, which is updated nightly into the SQL data warehouse. The updated information is then vetted for publication on the internet with options to provide additional information, such as photographs, maps and pertinent notes, which are not normally required on Nicor. This workflow process is fully automated and the date of the most recent update is displayed on the site.

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