GREENACRES Shopping Centre will from next year be under new ownership, with plans to expand the centre.
The popular Port Elizabeth shopping complex is being sold for R1.016-billion by Liberty Holdings for a 50% share each to Acucap and Sycom. Acucap also owns a 27.5% share in The Bridge, which is valued by Acucap at R143-million.
The announcement of the proposed sale, of which the date of transfer is expected to be January 1, was announced on the SENS information dissemination service of JSE Limited.
In a statement by Acucap, the company said: "The acquisition of 50% of Greenacres supports Acucap's strategy of seeking opportunities that will enhance shareholder value and contribute to sustainable income growth. As a 27.5% co-owner of the adjoining retail centre known as The Bridge at Greenacres, Acucap already has a meaningful investment in this node and an intimate understanding of its performance."
Greenacres and The Bridge together comprise an 88000m² combined shopping mall, one of the major retail centres in the Eastern Cape.
"Greenacres is ideally positioned at the intersection of Port Elizabeth's two primary arterial roads to draw from the city's major residential areas. There is a complete representation of the major South African national tenants across all retail segments, making Greenacres the mall of choice for approximately one million shoppers per month," Acucap said.
It also announced that because of this high foot count and strong interest from many of the national tenants at Greenacres to expand, plans were in place "to fulfil the expansion needs of tenant base".
Sycom, which is buying the other 50% share of Greenacres, is managed by Acucap, which also owns 33.5% of the company's units.
Acucap managing director Paul Theodosiou said the expansion plans would include making the centre more user- friendly, adding more parking and modernising it.
"Greenacres is one of the strongest retail offerings in the whole of the province and a mature asset. The expansion will be beneficial for both the shoppers and tenants of the centre," Theodosiou said.
The centre's management staff would be kept on by the new owners.
Gross rentals forecast for the 12 months ending March 31 2015 for Greenacres are R43-million.
The property was valued at R1.035-billion by independent external property valuer HHMP Property Developers.
Commenting on the proposed sale, Liberty said the transaction "supports Liberty's strategy of becoming the leading wealth management company on the African continent".
"There are numerous initiatives that are currently being considered as part of the Direct Property investment strategy. These will include the upgrade‚ restructure and acquisition of assets within the portfolio that management believe will in time benefit investors."
The transaction is subject to the Competition Commission's approval.
Other shareholders in The Bridge are the Johannesburg Municipal Pension Fund (54.5693%) and the Municipal Employees' Pension Fund (17.8675%). Acucap's share is 27.5632%.
Comment from Greenacres management could not be obtained at the time of going to print.