Embracing New Urbanism
Writer: Emily Jarvis
Project Manager: Stuart Parker
Amdec Property Development has further solidified its reputation as South Africa’s leading developer of new urban lifestyles in recent years, leveraging a strong network of industry relationships to grow opportunities, offering its full-turnkey services and expertise to develop some of the country’s most iconic mixed-use projects.
Since establishment 26 years ago, Amdec’s portfolio now proudly extends across the residential, commercial, business and hotel & hospitality sectors. Currently underway, its latest large-scale new urban developments – most notably the latest phase of Melrose Arch, Yacht Club and Westbrook – aim to integrate urban living, working, shopping and leisure in one place.
“By investing in these larger new urban developments, we are able to keep track of property trends, and use this information to accommodate further expansion in reaction to changing industry trends and popularity,” says Nicholas Stopforth, Managing Director of Amdec Property Development.
It was this notion which the culturally-significant Melrose Arch was first constructed, representing a post-Apartheid New Urbanism development in South Africa, with many of the original properties worth almost triple their initial asset value today.
“Our urban precincts essentially address the key challenges and demands of modern suburban living; offering energy efficiency, sustainability, connectivity and providing convenience by drastically reducing commuter times, among other benefits,” he explains.
Based on the success of New Urbanism, Amdec is now exploring ways to take its expertise to new geographies by forging mutually beneficial business partnerships with those who share the same wealth of construction experience and aptitude for New Urbanism; while on the other hand, remaining focused on the smooth development of its current South African portfolio.
Organic growth opportunities
Decentralisation has long been a driving force for New Urbanism in South Africa, and given the popularity of New Urbanism opportunities, there are a variety of new investment and expansion opportunities on the horizon for Amdec in the coming year.
“New mixed-use developments will be sought-after on a case-by-case basis and while these projects will largely be a result of organic growth, we are keen to look to the wider continent or abroad and investigate each new interest on its own merits,” Stopforth says.
In support of this, Amdec is able to leverage its solid industry relationships with hotel operators, service providers and tenants, working closely with them to assess opportunities for growth in new markets. “Developed over the past 26 years in South Africa, our partnership model has been particularly successful in building relationships with internationally-renowned hotel operators such as Marriott and Hilton, and we use this as a platform to generate new business,” he further details.
Amdec prides itself on having a diverse workforce comprised of some of the best individuals for the job at hand. Often encouraging individual development via numerous further training policies, the Company has proven time and time again that its teams are right for the job.
“Above all, it is about ensuring quality runs throughout our entire supply chain and the development process, which helps to make certain that the final product stands out from the competition as a unique product, presenting a unique lifestyle offering, a secure environment and efficient facilities management services,” Stopforth adds.
Growing New Urbanism
With many of its current projects due to be well underway this time next year, Amdec hopes to enhance its exposure in several new territories and harness the potential of bringing its New Urbanism expertise to international markets.
“A year from now, we will be half way through Yacht Club, the next phase of Melrose Arch – One on Whiteley – will be underway, new villages will be under construction at Evergreen, and a further 100-150 residential units out of a potential 3,500 will have been completed at our Westbrook development.
“It is important for us to continually reinforce our project pipeline and expand our horizons. This way, we can build even better industry relationships and strengthen our portfolio,” says Stopforth.
He concludes: “Amdec is a diversified Group that understands the nature of business in South Africa from a lifestyle and occupation perspective, and we try and live by this throughout our developments to remain ahead of the competition in the mixed-use space.”
In order to keep up with the unprecedented demand for residential space within the iconic mixed-use Melrose Arch development, Amdec has recently announced a further 234 luxury one and two bedroom apartments – along with a Marriot Hotel, health club and luxury motor retailer – as part of its latest development phase, One on Whiteley.
“We have responded to the market’s needs and with substantial bulk still available, there is plenty of opportunity to expand further,” highlights Stopforth.
Due to be completed by 2017, One on Whiteley is a welcome addition to one of the most quintessential examples of South African New Urbanism today; synonymous with safety, security, amenity and convenience and everything the public needs within walking distance.
Evergreen Lifestyle is South Africa’s first national retirement brand. With six established villages, and a further 20 in the pipeline, Evergreen boasts a reputation for building and managing exceptional estates. Several international accolades which include Best Retirement Development in South Africa and Africa attest to the brand’s market dominance.
“Statistics show that people are living longer and working well into their 70’s. Retirement developments are fairly limited in South Africa, and since we estimate that there will be approximately eight million retirees in South Africa by 2030, we have set a target of 10,000 units by 2020,” says Cobus Bedeker, Development Director for Evergreen.
Located in some of the most beautiful parts of the country, Evergreen estates boast idyllic parkland atmospheres, with lush gardens with walkways, benches and ponds providing welcome tranquillity. A wide choice of stylish homes and apartments are available, designed with residents’ comfort and convenience in mind. Villages also offer state-of-the-art community Lifestyle Centres which provide space for residents to relax and enjoy community life.
The Yacht Club
After the first phase of The Yacht Club’s residential development – comprising 60 apartments – sold out just days after launch last year, Amdec quickly responded to this significant demand and launched the next phase of its expansion, which saw a further 10 apartments brought to market.
Stopforth explains: “The Yacht Club is a unique R1.2 billion mixed-use development strategically positioned adjacent to the V&A Waterfront, a stone’s throw from the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) and on the doorstep of the city’s historic Foreshore.”
Set for completion by the end of 2017, The Yacht Club will include an array of modern, flexible office space, and urban hotel and apartment living; with links to multiple transport systems.
Westbrook, Port Elizabeth
Amdec is creating a brand new suburb of Westbrook in Port Elizabeth and remains firmly on course to be the first to deliver its new urban vision to the Nelson Mandela Bay area.
The development of multiple residential clusters, a retirement village, Curro Private School, retail offering, offices and commercial zones will offer residents a relaxed lifestyle within a safe and connected suburb, with all the amenities and services for easy living. Amdec’s vision includes a balance between developed spaces, parklands, open spaces, ponds and watercourses that provide the ultimate urban living experience.