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Growthpoint Student REIT launches with high-quality R2bn portfolio

Growthpoint Properties (JSE: GRT) has launched South Africa’s first unlisted purpose-built student accommodation real estate investment trust (REIT), the Growthpoint Student REIT – the third specialist, unlisted alternative real estate investment opportunity to be launched under Growthpoint’s funds management business. The Student REIT has acquired a R2bn seed portfolio with 5,000 modern beds.

Globally, the thriving purpose-built student accommodation sector is giving rise to the growth of specialist REITs. They are attracting record capital inflows by outperforming based on consistently high occupancies and rental growth.

Locally, the launch of Growthpoint Student REIT has opened up focused investor access into this defensive alternative asset class, with its strong fundamentals and proven resilience.

The introduction of the purpose-built student accommodation REIT received strong market interest. Its first close exceeded expectations, attracting third-party capital commitments of some R1.1bn and around R1.5bn in total, including the capital commitments from Growthpoint as well as Feenstra Group, one of the largest seed portfolio vendors.

Growthpoint’s R240m investment represents a 16% shareholding in the unlisted REIT and is in line with its co-investment philosophy underpinning its funds management business. It will remain a core investor in the fund, owning between 5% and 20% of the equity in the REIT in future. Feenstra’s R160m gives it an 11% holding, with a three-year “lock-in” commitment.

Growthpoint is the fund manager and assumes overall responsibility for the success of the Student REIT, while Feenstra will be the property manager. The Student REIT leverages the entrepreneurial vision and skill of Growthpoint’s management team and the proven student accommodation property management capability of the Feenstra Group in order to create value for investors.

The Growthpoint Student REIT’s R2bn seed portfolio comprises seven high-quality purpose-built student accommodation properties acquired from a group of vendors led by Feenstra. A two-year rental underpin, to mitigate against short-term impacts of Covid-19, was included in the deal. After the conclusion of the acquisition, the Student REIT launched in December 2021.

The Student REIT is unlisted – giving investors exposure to direct real estate that tends to be driven by long-term fundamentals rather than listed real estate volatility driven by short-term sentiment. However, JSE-listed Growthpoint’s control ensures excellent governance oversight frameworks, extensive dedicated environmental, corporate social investment and sustainability resources, and regular investment income from the Student REIT’s six-monthly dividend payment policy.

Growthpoint’s fund management business seeks to identify investment opportunities in sectors that are underpinned by strong fundamentals and that have the potential to be built to scale. It aims to grow the new Student REIT towards R12bn in assets and a stock exchange listing within seven years.

A focused investment mandate in purpose-built student accommodation differentiates the Growthpoint Student REIT. This type of accommodation is built specifically for university students by private developers and is designed to be student-centred.

Head of Corporate Finance at Growthpoint, George Muchanya, explains, “The demand for specialised student accommodation in South Africa far outstrips supply, making it an attractive investment. Given the constrained fiscal budget, to address the shortfall, the Government and Universities have shifted student accommodation provision from universities to partnerships with the private sector. This is a very positive step for all stakeholders and will contribute towards job creation as new developments are rolled out. This growing market remains disaggregated, and as SA’s first unlisted REIT investing in this asset class, Growthpoint Student REIT is poised to become the institutional player of reference in the sector that is likely to re-rate in the next decade.”

 The massive demand for quality student accommodation in South Africa is driven, in part, by the demographics of a young population. Education accounts for a significant share of public and family budgets, and Government’s commitment to tertiary education supports purpose-built student accommodation.

“An investment in the Growthpoint Student REIT is also an opportunity to invest for positive social and economic impact. Education is a major social need in South Africa. Around 60% of students in the fund’s initial portfolio are from low-income households and supported by the National Students Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS). Their student accommodation provides them with a conducive learning and living environment, improving education outcomes,” adds Muchanya.

The REIT’s NSFAS-approved, Gauteng-based portfolio is geographically split between Pretoria (71%) and Johannesburg. Each property is only a short walk from the University of Pretoria or the University of Johannesburg campuses. All have a history of high occupancy levels and rental growth, notwithstanding the disruption to education, and the ability to attend lectures in person, experienced since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Growthpoint Student REIT has several acquisition and development opportunities on the horizon, including an immediate growth portfolio of two development projects currently underway and opening in time for the 2023 academic year, a further acquisition of a Feenstra property under development, and another asset which will commence construction later this year.

With significant growth expected to come from new development, the Growthpoint Student REIT has access to large and complex projects by leveraging Growthpoint’s exceptional property development expertise and Feenstra’s experience as one of the largest private developers in the country. New developments expand Growthpoint Student REIT’s positive impacts beyond education outcomes alone as investing in development boosts job opportunities, municipal revenues and communities.

With extensive deal flow in place for this specialist REIT, investors will have an ongoing opportunity to invest in this high impact social investment.

The Growthpoint Student REIT furthers Growthpoint’s strategy to introduce new co-investment opportunities that leverage its management strength. Growthpoint’s funds management business is now actively managing three funds. It first commenced Lango (formerly Growthpoint Investec African Properties) in 2018. Lango’s assets have since grown to USD650m with over USD300m third-party funding raised, and it has emerged as a leader in the African real estate market. Growthpoint Healthcare Property Holdings launched later in 2018 and as SA’s first unlisted REIT focused exclusively on healthcare property investment, has now grown its assets to R3.2bn and raised over R2bn of third-party funding.

Norbert Sasse, Group CEO of Growthpoint, says: “Funds management provides Growthpoint and our co-investors with access to alternative opportunities in the unlisted and co-invested environment. We are pleased that our funds management platform has gained even stronger momentum with the launch of the Growthpoint Student REIT and continues to attract third-party capital successfully. Growthpoint remains committed to adding depth to the real estate market for the broader investment community. Ultimately, growing our funds management further diversifies our assets and harnesses new opportunities to create sustainable value.”

Hyprop to Acquire the Remaining Properties Within the Hystead Portfolio

Hyprop Investments Limited (Hyprop) is pleased to announce it has concluded an agreement with Hystead to acquire the remaining four assets within the Hystead Eastern European (EE) portfolio. These core assets include, Skopje City Mall in North Macedonia; City Center One East and City Center One West in Croatia; and the Mall of Sofia in Bulgaria. Hystead’s fifth property, Delta City Podgorica in Montenegro, is in the process of being sold and Hyprop will retain its existing €45 million interest in the asset, representing 60% of the value, until the sale is complete.

Hyprop currently owns 60% of Hystead, with PDI Investment Holdings owning the other 40%.

The Hystead acquisition properties accord with Hyprop’s strategy for its EE portfolio of premium retail properties in their respective jurisdictions and have the potential for future growth through active asset management and development initiatives, drawing on Hyprop’s South African expertise.

The transaction will enable Hyprop to take full control of the Hystead acquisition properties, with the following impact:

  • an increase in Hyprop’s effective interest in the Group’s EE portfolio;
  • an alignment of Hyprop’s economic interest in the Hystead properties being acquired and mitigation of its risk exposure;
  • the optimisation of Hystead’s capital structure and the Group’s borrowings and gearing profile;
  • the consolidation of the Hystead acquisition properties in Hyprop’s financial statements, providing greater disclosure and transparency; and
  • retention of the experienced Hystead asset management team, ensuring management continuity, and positioning Hyprop to grow its EE portfolio in the long-term.

Morné Wilken, Hyprop CEO, said: “The transaction is in line with our strategy to further diversify our exposure into Eastern Europe, mitigating the company’s risk to a weaker South African economy and will address some concerns previously raised by shareholders.

Hyprop remains focused on creating safe environments and opportunities for people to connect and have authentic and meaningful experiences, thereby creating long-term sustainable value for all stakeholders.”

Hyprop is confident that the Group’s strategy and key priorities remain relevant, even in a prolonged Covid-19 environment and the focus for the EE portfolio remains to retaining the dominance of the malls through active asset management initiatives and strategic redevelopments, leveraging the Group’s SA expertise and know-how, securing rights for further mall extensions to satisfy tenant demand and completing the refinancing or settlement of the equity debt.

Once the transaction is concluded and Delta City Podgorica is sold, the intention is to wind up Hystead in an orderly manner. This will include settling all Hystead’s outstanding debt and releasing Hyprop and PDI from all guarantees in the shareholders’ agreement.

Hyprop shareholders are advised to exercise caution in their dealings until a further announcement is made.

Growthpoint Student REIT launches with high-quality R2bn portfolio

Growthpoint Properties (JSE: GRT) has launched South Africa’s first unlisted purpose-built student accommodation real estate investment trust (REIT), the Growthpoint Student REIT – the third specialist, unlisted alternative real estate investment opportunity to be launched under Growthpoint’s funds management business. The Student REIT has acquired a R2bn seed portfolio with 5,000 modern beds.

Globally, the thriving purpose-built student accommodation sector is giving rise to the growth of specialist REITs. They are attracting record capital inflows by outperforming based on consistently high occupancies and rental growth.

Locally, the launch of Growthpoint Student REIT has opened up focused investor access into this defensive alternative asset class, with its strong fundamentals and proven resilience.

The introduction of the purpose-built student accommodation REIT received strong market interest. Its first close exceeded expectations, attracting third-party capital commitments of some R1.1bn and around R1.5bn in total, including the capital commitments from Growthpoint as well as Feenstra Group, one of the largest seed portfolio vendors.

Growthpoint’s R240m investment represents a 16% shareholding in the unlisted REIT and is in line with its co-investment philosophy underpinning its funds management business. It will remain a core investor in the fund, owning between 5% and 20% of the equity in the REIT in future. Feenstra’s R160m gives it an 11% holding, with a three-year “lock-in” commitment.

Growthpoint is the fund manager and assumes overall responsibility for the success of the Student REIT, while Feenstra will be the property manager. The Student REIT leverages the entrepreneurial vision and skill of Growthpoint’s management team and the proven student accommodation property management capability of the Feenstra Group in order to create value for investors.

The Growthpoint Student REIT’s R2bn seed portfolio comprises seven high-quality purpose-built student accommodation properties acquired from a group of vendors led by Feenstra. A two-year rental underpin, to mitigate against short-term impacts of Covid-19, was included in the deal. After the conclusion of the acquisition, the Student REIT launched in December 2021.

The Student REIT is unlisted – giving investors exposure to direct real estate that tends to be driven by long-term fundamentals rather than listed real estate volatility driven by short-term sentiment. However, JSE-listed Growthpoint’s control ensures excellent governance oversight frameworks, extensive dedicated environmental, corporate social investment and sustainability resources, and regular investment income from the Student REIT’s six-monthly dividend payment policy.

Growthpoint’s fund management business seeks to identify investment opportunities in sectors that are underpinned by strong fundamentals and that have the potential to be built to scale. It aims to grow the new Student REIT towards R12bn in assets and a stock exchange listing within seven years.

A focused investment mandate in purpose-built student accommodation differentiates the Growthpoint Student REIT. This type of accommodation is built specifically for university students by private developers and is designed to be student-centred.

Head of Corporate Finance at Growthpoint, George Muchanya, explains, “The demand for specialised student accommodation in South Africa far outstrips supply, making it an attractive investment. Given the constrained fiscal budget, to address the shortfall, the Government and Universities have shifted student accommodation provision from universities to partnerships with the private sector. This is a very positive step for all stakeholders and will contribute towards job creation as new developments are rolled out. This growing market remains disaggregated, and as SA’s first unlisted REIT investing in this asset class, Growthpoint Student REIT is poised to become the institutional player of reference in the sector that is likely to re-rate in the next decade.”

 The massive demand for quality student accommodation in South Africa is driven, in part, by the demographics of a young population. Education accounts for a significant share of public and family budgets, and Government’s commitment to tertiary education supports purpose-built student accommodation.

“An investment in the Growthpoint Student REIT is also an opportunity to invest for positive social and economic impact. Education is a major social need in South Africa. Around 60% of students in the fund’s initial portfolio are from low-income households and supported by the National Students Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS). Their student accommodation provides them with a conducive learning and living environment, improving education outcomes,” adds Muchanya.

The REIT’s NSFAS-approved, Gauteng-based portfolio is geographically split between Pretoria (71%) and Johannesburg. Each property is only a short walk from the University of Pretoria or the University of Johannesburg campuses. All have a history of high occupancy levels and rental growth, notwithstanding the disruption to education, and the ability to attend lectures in person, experienced since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Growthpoint Student REIT has several acquisition and development opportunities on the horizon, including an immediate growth portfolio of two development projects currently underway and opening in time for the 2023 academic year, a further acquisition of a Feenstra property under development, and another asset which will commence construction later this year.

With significant growth expected to come from new development, the Growthpoint Student REIT has access to large and complex projects by leveraging Growthpoint’s exceptional property development expertise and Feenstra’s experience as one of the largest private developers in the country. New developments expand Growthpoint Student REIT’s positive impacts beyond education outcomes alone as investing in development boosts job opportunities, municipal revenues and communities.

With extensive deal flow in place for this specialist REIT, investors will have an ongoing opportunity to invest in this high impact social investment.

The Growthpoint Student REIT furthers Growthpoint’s strategy to introduce new co-investment opportunities that leverage its management strength. Growthpoint’s funds management business is now actively managing three funds. It first commenced Lango (formerly Growthpoint Investec African Properties) in 2018. Lango’s assets have since grown to USD650m with over USD300m third-party funding raised, and it has emerged as a leader in the African real estate market. Growthpoint Healthcare Property Holdings launched later in 2018 and as SA’s first unlisted REIT focused exclusively on healthcare property investment, has now grown its assets to R3.2bn and raised over R2bn of third-party funding.

Norbert Sasse, Group CEO of Growthpoint, says: “Funds management provides Growthpoint and our co-investors with access to alternative opportunities in the unlisted and co-invested environment. We are pleased that our funds management platform has gained even stronger momentum with the launch of the Growthpoint Student REIT and continues to attract third-party capital successfully. Growthpoint remains committed to adding depth to the real estate market for the broader investment community. Ultimately, growing our funds management further diversifies our assets and harnesses new opportunities to create sustainable value.”

Redefine’s Flagship Alice Lane Development Supporting Johannesburg “Be Kind”

Redefine’s popular Alice Lane development, which sets the benchmark for mixed use development, is embracing the Johannesburg-wide “Be Kind” artwork initiative.

“Be Kind” relates to a series of 18 art installations around the streets of Johannesburg, the brainchild of Rabbi David Masinter. The aim is to spread positive thinking and upliftment after a difficult two Covid-19 years.

Redefine’s National office asset manager, Pieter Strydom, says Alice Lane is giving new meaning to mixed use office space in the Sandton hub and sets the benchmark for developments in the future, which is why partnering on “Be Kind” is seen as an important and relevant partnership for Redefine.

“Alice Lane offers a safe, relaxing, and stunning business environment for those who expect only the best. It is therefore a perfect fit as a partner for the ‘Be Kind’’ initiative and we are proud to associate ourselves with a move to lift the spirits of people visiting Sandton and also more broadly, Johannesburg.”

Rabbi Masinter is a firm believer in humanity and compassion of people – especially South Africans. The “Be Kind” project aims to embrace the beauty around them and share positivity with everyone in the City of Gold.

Alice Lane lives up to these very ideals as it seamlessly integrates state-of-the-art building systems with easy accessibility and convenience. It’s also a sustainable, environmentally friendly development, created with non-toxic materials and built to a 4 Star Green Star status, the first Green Star-rated precinct in the area.

Redefine Picks Roodepoort For Its Latest Retail Venture Kwena Square

Sandton, South Africa: The construction on Redefine Properties’ Kwena Square on the West Rand is progressing well and is expected to be completed on schedule during May 2022. The JSE listed diversified real estate investment trust intends to open the shopping centre to the public during mid-2022. Located centrally in Little Falls, Roodepoort, it features over 10 000m2 of convenience shopping space.

The centre gets its name from the Sotho meaning for crocodile, koena (kwena) which accentuates the abundant natural beauty within the Little Falls, Strubens Valley and surrounding areas. The Crocodile River also has its source in the Witwatersrand Mountain range, originating in Constantia Kloof, Roodepoort, which is near the current site.

Developed at a cost of R210 million, Kwena Square will house 23 stores anchored by national retailers like Checkers, Checkers Liquor, Clicks and boasts one of the country’s first drive-thru RocoMamas besides other restaurants and coffee shops. Parking bays to accommodate 407 cars at any time have been provided. Already over 60% of the centre has been pre-let to tenants who represent a diverse line of local and national brands.

An array of rooftop solar panels will generate as much as 25% of the electricity required by the centre, a key feature which will reduce the load on the main grid.

Redefine recently unveiled its Moonshot Strategy setting a target to deliver the smartest and most sustainable spaces by the end of this decade and has since been focusing on energy efficiency and renewable energy to help it to reach its goal. In 2022, Redefine will focus on executing its strategic priorities having introduced a climate resilience framework, striving for more sustainability interventions across its operating environment and investing strategically.

Leon Kok, COO, Redefine Properties says, “We are ready to put the efforts in towards meeting our commitment to convert all buildings in our portfolio to net zero carbon, water and waste by 2050. The process has begun with our newer projects and demonstrates our ongoing focus to reduce our carbon footprint. We have an overarching ambition to be a force for good.”

A new study by MSCI shows that some areas of retail like convenience shopping centres are seeing a rise in sales and visitors with trading densities exceeding pre-Covid levels. Thanks to time-pressed consumers juggling work-from-home and making quick stops for groceries to avoid crowds, the need for convenience became paramount during Covid-19.

“Kwena Square entrenches the trend we first identified on the re-emergence of convenience centres, a shopping format most favoured during the pandemic for its ease of use and open ventilation enhancing safety. The completion of the project during a pandemic reflects our commitment and our tenants’ confidence in the project and the neighbourhood,” adds Kok.

“A convenience centre like Kwena Square addresses changing shopping habits and is positioned to efficiently meet evolving demands of shoppers.”

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