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PROPERTY: Vacancies Down At Century City


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CONTINUED strong demand for offices at Century City have seen vacancies drop 2.7% so far this year with further strong take-up expected over the next two years, according to Greg Deans, a director of Rabie Property Group which is developing the project.

Office vacancies which stood at 13.1% in January this year are currently standing at 10.4% with 23 696 sq m now remaining to be let.

Deans says they expect a further significant reduction in the medium term as a function of both a slowdown in the amount of new space coming on stream and continued demand for office space in the precinct.

In recent years the amount of office space at Century City has grown considerably from around 100 000 sq m in June 2006 to just over 220 000 sq m currently while the annual take-up rate for this period had averaged 32 000 sq m.

“In the first half of this year only an additional 8 000 sq m of new space will be coming on stream, half of which is already spoken for. During the 12 months after that a maximum of 13 000 sq m is projected to come on the market. Of this only 8 000 sq m is committed to construction 6 000 sq m of which is also already spoken for.”

“Even factoring a slowdown in the takeup rate from historic levels we will be left with little or no vacant space by mid-2010,” he says.

Deans says that one of the upsides of having available stock is that it makes Century City one of, if not the first port of call for most people looking for offices to buy or let.

“It also makes us well positioned to benefit immediately from an upturn in the market as we have a head start on our competitors. As such we have a number of additional exciting projects well in the planning stage so that we can respond rapidly to market dictates.”

Century City’s popularity as an office destination, he says, grew as the development matured and as a result of the emergence of a three tier market with tenants having a much broader choice of product at varying rentals.

“The success of our residential developments – with Century City being named South Africa’s best middle income residential area to live in by a top level independent market research survey undertaken by Finweek in association with Ask Africa – is also having a positive impact on commercial lettings with a growing number of people working in the precinct choosing to live here and vice versa.

“In addition the significant improvement to infrastructure in and around Century City is making the precinct even more desirable. The major upgrade of the Koeberg Interchange, which is due for completion ahead of the 2010 Soccer World Cup, will significantly improve traffic flows between the northern and southern areas and benefit Century City considerably.

“Furthermore as part of the 2010 Soccer World Cup transport requirements, Century City is set to get a commuter railway station and will also be a beneficiary of the Integrated Rapid Transit System,” he says.

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