Property development firm Growthpoint Properties was, in May, awarded the South African Property Owners Association’s (Sapoa’s) Innovative Excellence Award in Industrial Property Development for the new warehouse it developed for furniture retail group Ellerine Holdings, in Epping, Cape Town.
The award was announced at the forty- fourth Sapoa International Property Convention & Exhibition at the Cape Town International Conference Centre.
A custom-designed building, comprising some 5 200 m2 of warehousing and 1 000 m2 of offices, for logistics company Fast and Furious at the Growthpoint Industrial Estate, in Meadowdale, Gauteng, was also a finalist in this category.
“We are pleased to receive this prestigious award. It is an important recognition of the results we’re able to achieve by working with our clients to understand their businesses and their property needs.
“We strive to apply our understanding with innovation to create industrial buildings that are assets to our clients’ businesses,” says Growthpoint Properties industrial division director Engelbert Binedell.
For its award-winning development, the company applied the latest green building technologies to convert a contaminated old foundry into a state-of-the-art warehouse.
This 16 500 m2 facility is the new regional distribution centre for Ellerine Holdings, and will serve all Ellerines’ branches in the Western Cape. The centre is operated by logistics company Barloworld Logistics.
Growthpoint Properties tailored the facility to client needs with 2 000 m2 of office space and 14 500 m2 of warehousing space, applying environmentally sound practices at every stage from design and demolition through to materials and energy efficiency, says Binedell.
Besides creating a green development, he says the company developed a high-specification, high-tech warehouse of international standard adapted to South African conditions, with the global supply chain expertise of Barloworld Logistics.
The building is designed to profit Ellerines by allowing it to shift its distribution model from parochial to regional, achieving greater operational and economic efficiency.
Binedell says that, while there is no Green Star rating for industrial buildings in South Africa yet, this is no reason to delay green developments for the sector.
He states that Growthpoint Properties is the largest South African-listed property company with assets exceeding R50-billion.
The company applied its experience from other property sectors, specifically offices, where local green building is most established, to develop the industrial green building sector, says Binedell. He adds that the company has already started construction on various green industrial developments in Gauteng.
Binedell says it is this innovative outlook that contributed to Growthpoint Properties being awarded the ten-year lease for the Ellerines distribution centre.
Location is key to the project’s sustainability, he explains, adding that Epping is an older industrial area in Cape Town.
“Over the years it fell out of favour as industry moved to glossy new nodes.
“However, like all traditional industrial areas, Epping still offers all the key ingredients needed for logistics, specifically a good location, ease of access and electricity supply,” he says.
Binedell adds that Epping, and other older industrial areas, are full of redevelopment potential. Besides offering renewal, redevelopment also provides big financial benefits for owners and tenants, he says.
“Redevelopments cost less than new developments, but offer the same standards. This means lower rentals without sacrificing quality,” says Growthpoint Properties industrial division development manager Leon Labuschagne.
He adds that the redevelopment of properties in older industrial areas is a trend throughout South Africa as a result of these benefits.
“This movement is excellent for the environment. Properties are reused rather than left derelict. Unnecessary urban sprawl is avoided, old materials are recycled and the refurbished buildings are more energy efficient and environmentally sound,” he explains.
He points out that redevelopments can also be tailored to client criteria and increase property value. He says the new Ellerines regional warehouse meets international standards.
The green redevelopment of the new facility began with demolishing the foundry, which had been vacant for three years.
With guidance from an environmental consultant, Growthpoint Properties responsibly disposed of all contaminated material, including old asbestos roofing and spoilt soil. It also recycled steel and electrical cables.
Labuschagne explains that extensive recycling of concrete, by crushing concrete on site, was key in establishing the green base for the project.
The bricks used for the project contain 70% recycled material.
“In fact, the recycled material in the bricks is from the old Athlone Towers power station,” he reports.
The facility includes dimmable fluorescent lights in the warehouse, and external light-emitting diode (LED) floodlights and motion-sensor LED lights in the offices.
Ecoglass windows and an efficient air-conditioning system aid with energy-saving temperature management. Heat pumps for hot water also cut costs, he says.
The warehouse also features totally flat floors, an eaves height of 16 m, high-lift roller shutter doors and a backup electricity generator.