File picture: Philimon Bulawayo
JOHANNESBURG - The Billion Group, a property development company founded and owned by listed Rebosis Property Fund executive director and former chief executive Sisa Ngebulana, is to embark on development projects next year collectively involving the investment of more than R6billion.

The projects will result in the expansion of four existing shopping mall precincts that were developed by the group to include residential and office components in line with the group's “live, work, play” strategy, a casino and entertainment complex, two new shopping centres and the conversion of an office block in the Cape Town city centre into residential apartments.

Vuyokazi Njongwe, the commercial director of the Billion Group, said that all the projects under construction would work towards creating contained community environments within carefully planned, people-friendly precincts to ensure the long-term sustainability of the various retail nodes.

Njongwe said this year had been a year of consolidation in which they had the chance to focus on their development pipeline and reassess what the market needed.

“This year, the business has refocused on property development following the R5billion sale of assets and two service companies to Rebosis. We expect 2018 to be a very busy year for us,” she said.

This refers to the Billion Group’s sale of the 72811m2 Forest Hill City Mall in Centurion and 90000m2 Baywest Mall in Port Elizabeth to Rebosis.

The more than R6bn investment programme by the Billion Group next year will include further investment to expand the Forest Hill City precinct through the development of 14000m2 of office space and the construction of 340 residential rental apartments.

The Billion Group will also be investing further in the Baywest City precinct and plans to begin construction next year on 580 residential units.

Development

The group will also add a 320-unit residential apartment development in the Hemingways Mall precinct in East London.

The two new retail malls to be developed are the 20000m2 off-grid mall in Hebron, in the North West, and the Engcobo Mall in Ngcobo, in the Eastern Cape.

Njongwe said construction on the Hebron retail centre started last month, and it was expected to open late next year.

“With its own water supply and sewage plant, it will only need to rely on an outside source - Eskom - for electricity. The aim is to be off the grid, something that we are planning on introducing on all our development projects.

"The latest design criteria have been used to make electrical consumption as efficient as possible,” he said.

Njongwe said the development of a 20000m2 community hall in Hebron was also in the pipeline.

Ground was broken earlier this month for the construction of the R100million Mthatha Casino & Entertainment complex next to Billion Group’s 60000m2 BT Ngebs City Shopping Centre and four-star Mayfair Hotel.

It is scheduled to open towards the end of next year, with further future planned expansion included mixed-use residential and office space comprising 300 apartments and an office park.

- BUSINESS REPORT