Growthpoint Properties’ (JSE: GRT) purpose-built student accommodation developments excelled at the recent SAPOA Property Awards in Innovative Excellence, winning two prestigious categories that recognise development distinction within the real estate industry.
Peak Studios in Observatory, Cape Town, was awarded top place in the Heritage category and Apex Studios in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, won the Student Accommodation Award.
These esteemed awards by the South African Property Owners Association (SAPOA) highlight the ingenuity of the winners’ vision, passion and dedication in South Africa’s modernised property industry.
The two award-winning student residences were Growthpoint’s first foray into developing purpose-built student accommodation.
Estienne de Klerk, SA CEO of Growthpoint Properties, comments: “We are delighted to be recognised for development excellence by SAPOA. The accolades underscore Growthpoint’s ongoing commitment to providing space to thrive with innovative and sustainable solutions, and student accommodation development inherently contributes significantly to societal good. We have built our internal development expertise to deliver turnkey developments for Growthpoint, the co-owned portfolios under management by Growthpoint Investment Partners and third-party owners. We believe this is a competitive advantage for both our clients and ourselves. These awards highlight the passion and commitment to excellence of everyone involved in the winning initiatives.”
Both Apex Studios and Peak Studios are part of the Thrive Student Living by Growthpoint portfolio. They opened for the 2023 academic year and have surpassed expectations, achieving 100% and 98% occupancy rates respectively, demonstrating instant commercial success as well as quality development.
“With strong demand, we have acquired a further three sites that Growthpoint’s multi-award-winning development team will complete for the 2025 and 2026 academic years, two near Wits University and one at the University of KwaZulu-Natal,” reports Amogelang Mocumi, Fund Manager of Growthpoint Student Accommodation Holdings.
Peak Studios houses 563 students in a new nine-storey residence that repurposed a heritage building to serve the surrounding University of Cape Town and other private institutions of higher education. The property comprises two buildings: a new, multi-storey residential building inspired by the older heritage building facing Main Road. The new residence building reflects a contemporary interpretation of the existing building’s geometry to create a unique addition to the area.
The offices, communal areas, gym, laundry and study areas are in the heritage building, which seamlessly ties into the new residential building on the ground floor. The main circulation area spills out onto an interior courtyard, extending the space for exercise and relaxation to the outside. Hugging this larger green area, the new building creates various safe, inspiring interior and exterior spaces for studying, gathering and living.
Student Accommodation Award
Apex Studios houses 901 students over 13 storeys in a new residential building which consists of a variety of unit types, each with a private shared bathroom and kitchen lending itself to an apartment style of living. As part of its development, an existing heritage building on the site was restored externally and extensively refurbished internally to house all the unique common spaces such as the study centre, lounge areas, games room and gym.
A standout feature of Apex Studios is its prime position directly opposite the main University of the Witwatersrand campus.
“The location of a student housing residence is crucial for ease of access to campus but it is equally important to locate the residence in an area well suited to a student lifestyle. The aim is to create an environment that allows for a community to develop, where students feel at home in their units and where communal spaces nurture learning, collaboration and innovation,” says Mocumi.