Archive for the ‘News Highlights’ Category

Harries builds future with modular design

Thursday, November 13th, 2008

An innovative modular office/warehouse concept is being introduced to the commercial and industrial site at Perth Airport by a South African based company, following its success with the design overseas. Harries Projects had such faith in the project that it proceeded with it on a speculative basis, a move that has paid off as it has already attracted pre-commitments on half the available space.

Most development at the airport is for huge industrial warehouses with a small office component, but the Harries project will provide about a 50-50 split of office and warehouse over the entire 7667m2 of lettable space. Harries Projects bought the 1.56ha leasehold site 18 months ago and impressed Westralia Airports Corporation with its extensive pre-design work for the project, known as Perth Airport Park One. The development’s triangular office-park layout and design focus on cutting edge design, tenant flexibility and a sense of community.

Tenants already committed include two public companies, IPN & Computronics , plus construction firm Ahrens Construction and communication group Visionstream. More tenants are in the final negotiation stage with leasing agents Knight Frank and CB Richard Ellis. The rents range from $250/m2 to $290/m2 for offices and average $120/m2 for warehouse space.

Harries Projects senior partner, Marc Harries, said the company had been developing property in South Africa for more than 25 years and had done major office buildings, housing subdivisions and retirement villages, in addition to commercial and industrial projects.

The model employed at Perth Airport had proved successful in South Africa with individual spaces able to be linked either vertically or horizontally to form larger spaces or small suites. “At Harries Projects we look at all developments from a very strong architectural focus,” Mr. Harries said. “It will also be extremely functional, with tenants able to mix and match the various suites they want, depending on the office/warehouse mix they are trying to achieve”. Knight Frank commercial and industrial director Martin Reeson, who dealt with Harries Projects on the leasehold land purchase and is now joint leasing the project, said the development filed a niche. A lot of companies that traditionally separated their office and industrial requirements on different sites were now recognising the value of consolidation and the need for higher office space ratio. “One of the companies looking closely at this project (Computronics) has already opted for a strong office focus by combining four of the office suites,” Mr. Reeson said. “Others are keen to have a more traditional mix of office and warehouse.”

CBRE’s Warick Irving said the Perth Airport land was located at the epicentre of Perth’s rail, road and air transport networks and would become recognised as the essential destination for distribution, warehousing, transport and logistics operations. “Not only is this the largest and best located industrial area in WA but is also attracting the lion’s share of blue chip tenants”, Mr. Irving said. “The roads and all associated infrastructure are in place and it has immediate links not only to the airport and railway, but to the Tonkin, Leach, Roa and Great Eastern Highways. There is also the additional security, profile, quality and streamlined development process of being on Commonwealth land”


Harries Projects plans to develop other projects in WA after Perth Airport One, which is due to be ready by December. The company won the prestigious Bentley International Award for Best Residential Development last year for its Island Club project in Cape Town. It is a mixed-use 445 apartment, boutique hotel and retail development. A second Bentley Award was won for the Oasis Luxury Retirement Resort in South Africa, which includes 1 120 bed care centre, 450 apartments and a clubhouse and wellness centre.

Source:  The West Australian, 12 November 2008

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Luxury Resort wins award

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

The Oasis Luxury Retirement Resort at Century City has received a merit award for innovative excellence in property development.

The award, in the category encompassing all developments, except commercial property, was presented at the South African Property Owners Association (Sapoa) convention in Cape Town last month.

Oasis is jointly developed by Harries Projects and Madison Property Fund Managers on behalf of Redefine Income Fund. This is the second Sapoa recognition in recent years for Harries Projects and MHA (Marc Harries Architects) in association with Ray Alexander Architects. In 2005, the same design and project management and professional team, together with M&R Constuction won the award jointly with Rabie Properties, for the Island Club development, also at Century City.

Island Club attained further recognition at the Bentley Awards in London.

Oasis Luxury Retirement Resort consists of 182 sectional title apartments in two blocks, Palm Springs and Palm Grove, and a state-of-the-art clubhouse and care centre.

The apartments are sold on a life-right basis and the frail-care facility provides geriatric care, as well as sub-acute and post-operative care.

Amenities at the Oasis Club include a 25m² heated indoor pool, gym, sauna, steam room, bridge room, billiard room, cinema area, library, hobbies room, braai and recreation areas, restaurant, a bar, coffee bar and a variety of lounge areas.

The landscaped gardens are ribboned with paths, ponds and streams, A berm has been planted with shrubs, trees and flowers, forming a green and colourful wall to the development, which was a regional and national winner in the 2006 Concrete Manufacturers Association  annual awards.

“Oasis has significant potential for future growth,” says Mike Flax of Madison.

“There are plans for three more sectional title apartment blocks, offering 270 further residential opprortunities with the possibility of an extended and enlarged care centre. The third apartment block, Palm Royale , will have 11 storeys of superior apartments with special features including a direct link to the Oasis Club and sea views from the 5th to 11th floors. This block has already been designed and approved.”


Source: Weekend Argus. Saturday 21 June 2008

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Harries on a roll with Century City deal

Monday, January 15th, 2007

NEDBANK Corporate Property Finance has renewed its longstanding connection with Harries Projects by providing the funding for its latest commercial development at Century City.

Known as Heron Place, this will be a five-storey office block in the Wetlands, an area with abundant bird and pond life. The site adjoins Knowledge Park II and has Century Square and Boulevard Place on the opposite sides of Heron Crescent. Heron Place will have a gross lettable area of 4 173m².

Barry Conlin, senior key client residential manager of Nedbank Corporate Property Finance, says the design by Marc Harries Architects allows for a central courtyard and an elegant arched plastered façade in strong modern colours. The ground floor will have 419m² of shops, including a coffee shop.

“The A-Grade building will probably command rentals of up to R125/m² by the time it is completed in December,” he says.

The deal with Harries Projects required considerable flexibility and a quick response from Nedbank because early on in the negotiations Harries sold the whole development to what was then Spearhead Property Holdings and is now the Cape branch of the Redefine/Madison Property Group.  Redefine asked for an extra lift and variations to the specs, for which additional funding had been provided.

Richard Edwards, new business manager for Nedbank Corporate property Finance (Cape) says Redefine, which is nearing completion on its Knowledge Park II development, was successful in letting this 6 530m² building and was therefore on the hunt for further premises in Century City.

He says Heron Place will fit well into Redefine/Madison’s upmarket portfolio.

“The Nedbank deal with Harries Projects follows on from an earlier agreement to fund its 6 200m² Boulevard Place office complex opposite Heron Place, which is now nearing completion. These two contracts will be followed by a further agreement to finance Harries larger 10 500m² Canal Plaza office complex, for which Nedbank has already bonded the land. Work on this R170 million addition to the Harries list of successful projects at Century City will start in mid-2007 and end toward the end of 2008.”

Edwards says the Harries team has become particularly well knows for designs which enclose a courtyard with offices and retail accommodation, the best examples being its developments at Westlake Square, Roeland Square and Century City.

“Creating village square environments of this kind  tends to result in pleasant, relaxed and quiet working conditions. For instance, the Oasis Retirement Village, also at Century City, where Harries is again in partnership with Redefine, will have similar appeal and quality.”

Edwards says the three Century City projects and the Oasis Retirement Village have put Harries Projects among the top three developers at Century City.

Source: Sunday Times, Property Section – 14 January 2007

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Two city developments land top Sapoa Awards

Sunday, September 10th, 2006

Two Cape Town developments have taken top honours in the residential and retail sectors at this year’s South African Property Owners Association (Sapoa) awards.

The Island Club, Rabie Property Projects 445-unit development at Century City, was voted the top residential development in South Africa for 2005, while Vangate Mall, which opened in Athlone last year, took top honours for innovative excellence in retail property development.

The awards were presented at the Sapoa annual convention in Durban last week. John Chapman, a director of Rabie Property Projects, which jointly developed the Island Club with Harries Projects and Nedbank Corporate Property Finance, said they were delighted with the industry’s recognition of the innovative excellence of the development, which they believed was of a world-class standard.

“In fact, we believe so much in the quality of this projects that we have also entered it for the Bentley International Property Awards which take place in London at the end of the year.”

The Island Club, which is set across the Grand Canal from Canal Walk shopping centre, was the first project to bring residential living to the central Century City site and has been followed by four other successful developments including Villa Italia, Knightsbridge, Bougain Villas and the Oasis Retirement Resort.

Chapman said the market had significantly endorsed the R450m project, which had sold out in a record two-month period with initial investors having enjoyed significant capital growth over the development phase.

Demand for apartments in the Island Club remains strong, with more than 130 apartments having been re-sold for initial investors. Owner occupiers now account for approximately 75% of the development.

He said the challenges of the Island Club, which is set around man-made waterways and islands, included responding to the striking architecture of Canal Walk and in particular its northern face to Half Moon Bay; ensuring that virtually all apartments and water frontage; creating a secure and luxuriously landscaped environment with running tracks, play parks, indoor heated and outdoor pools; producing buildings with movement and changing roofscapes so as to respond to the waterways and achieve visual interest and a human scale, and enabling a lifestyle of convenience where buildings and spaces were interconnected, safe and user-friendly.

The chairman of the Vangate Development Company, Mustapha Murudker, said Vangate Mall was honoured to have received the award and that it vindicated the development company’s steadfast adherence to the principles of empowerment and community engagement.

“Roughly 75% of the contractors involved in the construction of the precinct hailed from previously disadvantaged communities within the greater Athlone area, and almost 25% of the tenants within the centre were sourced via the local communities,” said Murudker.

Vangate Mall is anchored by some of South Africa’s leading retailers, including Woolworths, Pick n Pay, Edgars, Truworths and Clicks. The remaining 30% is made up of a host of independent and specialized traders from the area, the most noteworthy of which is Elite Supermarket. Having traded from its Gatesville premises for over 30 years, this local retail giant has joined forces with the Spar group to create and Elite Superspar which spans over 3000m².

Other local institutions such as Lady Bee Delhi Diner, Hilite Interiors, Sherezad, Tasneems and Fazlien’s sit alongside the likes of Cape Union Mart, Musica, Keedo, Zoom and Spitz to create and authentic and vibrantly South African mix.

The Souk at Vangate Mall provides yet another empowering opportunity for local budding retailers, and has been referred to as the “incubator” of the centre. Former informal traders – either from Athlone CBD or the hawker-type stalls flanking the centre’s activity spine – are able to graduate to the Souk, where they can trade from semi-formal retail premises and receive on-site training and mentorship, before graduating yet further into fully fledged retail premises within the main body of the mall.

“Vangate Mall proudly accepts this award on behalf the people of Athlone, for it is only with their ongoing support that we can call ourselves a true centre of the community,” said Murudker.

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Spearhead take a 50% share in the Oasis retirement village

Friday, April 22nd, 2005


Spearhead Property Holdings have let it be known that they have taken a 50 % share in the R500 million Oasis retirement village at Century City.  This was launched four months ago by Harries Projects and a consortium of private investors.

Mike Flax, Chief Executive of Spearhead Properties, said that Spearhead had had little hesitation in coming in on this project because “as the first major retirement development using high rise construction it is quite clear that it will set a new standard in retirement villages at the Cape and, indeed, in South Africa”.

The experience of the principal architect, Marc Harries and his associate, Ray Alexander (who teamed up previously on Century City’s The Island Club and elsewhere), said Flax, is evident in every aspect of the design, into which, he said, “considerable thought and planning has been put”.

Recapping on what the Oasis project will comprise, Roger Harries and Owen Futeran said that it would ultimately have:

  • five ten-storey tower blocks, each with its own parking basement, visitors’ lounge and concierge-manned foyer.
  • In this first phase only two blocks are being marketed.  Each of these will have one, two and three bedroom apartments as well as penthouse suites. Floor sizes are 65 m2 to 180 m2, some 15% to 20% larger than the average Cape Town apartment, and the “extras” will include enclosed balconies, underfloor heating and imported kitchen equipment with upmarket finishes such as granite and glass tops.
  • The prices of the units are from R895,000 to R3 million and work on the first two blocks will start in June/July this year and will be complete for handover by September/October 2006.
  • a frail care facility with 24 hour nursing facilities and 78 assisted living apartments built around a citrus courtyard, in which some of the frail care services will be available to residents in their own bedsitters.
  • an Oasis Club in which residents will have their own mini-cinema, restaurant, ladies’ bar, coffee shop, library, hairdresser, cocktail pool and function room and from which regular excursions will be organised for all residents to events and places of interest.
  • a wellness club with “a truly modern” gymnasium and heated pool providing most of the popular ancillary treatments such as Pilates, massage, yoga and various beauty therapies.

Flax said that a project of this kind needs three supporting factors to make it a success – all of which the Oasis retirement village has.  The first, he said, is a nearby complex with banking and professional services, retail outlets, dining and recreational facilities, all of which are to be found at Canal Walk.  The second is an attractive environment – this, said Flax, has been assured by the provision of some 5ha of gardens and water features fed year round by Century City’s abundant water supply which is kept topped up by 100% clean recycled water and extensive inflows from the adjacent wetlands and canals.  The third factor, said Flax, is privacy and security:  the Oasis residents will be “protected” by high earth berms and a “triple layer” of security, i.e. Century City’s extensive patrol and monitoring systems, the Oasis’s own perimeter fencing and controlled entrances and the ground floor protection on each apartment block.

Other factors which could appeal to residents are the rapidly increasing bird life on the adjacent 16ha wetlands.  Here, said Flax, one of the Cape’s finest conservation efforts, fostered by Century City’s conservationist, Deon Weyers, is proving highly successful and there are now well over 100 species of birds in the precinct.

Another factor likely to prove attractive to possible residents is the stable levy system.  Levies will be financed by the body corporate receiving 25% of the enhancement on resales which will result in levies being low initially and likely to be “purely nominal” in five years’ time.

“All in all,” said Flax, “the Oasis retirement village will provide the most all-embracing, comprehensive facilities of any Cape retirement village.  It will take the concept of new urbanism to new heights, enabling people to live, play, entertain and recreate in a safe, pollution-free environment – something every mature couple surely wants.”

Owen Futeran reminded prospective buyers that the developers have a large marquee at the Property Expo site at Century City in which there is a model of the entire development.

“It is,” said Futeran, “essential to visit the marquee because only by doing this will buyers realise how fast the nearby residential precincts – The Island Club, Bougan Villa, Villa Italia and Knights Bridge – are coming on and together creating an entirely new, very sophisticated water-orientated residential precinct.”

Source:  –  22 April 2005

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