Artist’s impression of Louwlardia Logistics Park under construction in Centurion.
The JSE listed Fortress Income Fund has launched the Louwlardia Logistics Park, a R650 million A Grade logistics facility that is under development alongside the N1 in Centurion.
Speaking at the launch, executive director Andrew Teixeira said that Louwlardia was part of the one million square metres of warehousing that is due to be developed by Fortress over the next five years. This is a combined investment of an estimated R8 billion in South Africa’s logistics sector during that period.
Fortress listed in 2009, and innovative asset management and a diverse property portfolio has seen the fund showing positive growth every year.
The fund focuses on development of prime logistic warehousing, retail centres and strategic offshore investments. Fortress owns 336 investment properties valued at R28.7 billion at the end of December 2016 and has one of the largest logistics property development pipelines in South Africa.
Louwlardia, which will consist of about 90 000m2 of warehousing developed on a 16.7ha site, is expected to be completed within the next 24 months.
The first phase, which comprises a 21 785m2 warehouse with 1 843m2 offices, is complete and ready for occupancy. It has already drawn a great deal of interest from prospective blue chip tenants, according to national leasing manager, Grant Lewington.
He says Louwlardia is a good example of the Grade A logistics facilities the fund is developing in three major nodes – Gauteng, Cape Town and Durban.
The Fortress portfolio is strongly weighted towards logistics facilities in prime locations, which are let to corporate tenants on long leases.
The focus on logistics is due to ever increasing demand for these sorts of facilities from companies operating in a highly competitive economy that is driven by imports, primarily through Africa’s busiest container port, Durban.
The SA economy is transport intensive and imports destined for SA as well as neighbouring countries are expected to grow. Already logistics is one of the fastest growing service sectors in the economy, ensuring a strong income stream for the fund in future.
Teixeira emphasised that, as long term holders of property, Fortress is focused on delivering a quality product and is setting new trends in the development of logistics facilities in SA.
“In a tough economy where cost containment and efficiency are king, we are providing A grade logistics at a lower cost. With properties that offer high tech design that includes solar power and natural light to reduce energy consumption, strategic locations that make for more efficient distribution and properties that provide easy access and better turnaround times, we are effectively lowering the cost a pallet,” he said.
Lewington said that Fortress continued to strengthen its position as the preferred developer of logistics warehouses by delivering a technically superior product that, together with the group’s strategically located land, would ensure a sustainable development pipeline.
“All Fortress’s parks are developed according to global best practice and to the highest standards. They include the provision of adequate internal height, flat floors, large loading areas with hard wearing concrete surfaces as well as good access to freeways and arterial routes,” he said.
The newly launched warehouse at Louwlardia has a height of 13.5m to the underside of the eaves which offers efficiencies of scale and a FM2 floor which provides a solid platform for the erection of racking and easy movement of mechanised machinery with a 38m2 yard.
It also provides a secure park environment with 24 hour security, a central gate and electric fence as well as a fire system with central pumps and tanks that will serve the entire park.
Green building best practice is incorporated with features such as low maintenance indigenous landscaping that is irrigated and buildings that can accommodate photo voltaic cells for the production of electricity.
However, Lewington says the key draw card remains Louwlardia’s prime location with excellent highway visibility and accessibility to road, rail and domestic and international air freight hubs.
“It is next to the N1 between Johannesburg and Pretoria with access from the N1 via Brakfontein and Nellmapius Roads. It is also connected to two major alternative routes – the R21 and N14 – and provides easy access to OR Tambo and Lanseria airports as well as major centres,” he said.