Attacq Limited (“Attacq”), the leading JSE-listed REIT, with a high-quality portfolio of commercial assets comprising office and mixed-use, retail, light industrials and hotel spaces valued at R20.4 billion as at 30 June 2020, has experienced continued positive leasing activity despite lockdown operating conditions.
The developer of the iconic Waterfall City is in no way exempt from the impacts presented by the pandemic; however, its proactive and collaborative approach has stood the group in good stead. Since the onset of COVID-19, the asset management team has promptly responded to clients’ changing needs, providing the support required to ensure business continuity while prioritising a holistic customer experience.
Debbie Theron, Head of Property and Asset Management Mixed-Use Portfolio at Attacq, explains how the exceptional property management team had to respond and adapt to clients’ expectations and changing needs since the onset of the pandemic.
“For us, it is essential to embrace and implement a proactive and collaborative approach when it comes to our relationships with our clients. Our flexible partnership style has given us some degree of foresight while allowing us to collectively identify workable solutions for our clients during this difficult period,” said Debbie Theron.
Now more than ever, tenant retention is as important as attracting new clients, which is why the award-winning property owner and asset manager conducts an in-depth due diligence before onboarding new clients. The research conducted goes as far as looking at the client’s employees, their needs and everyday touchpoints. In this way, Attacq can add the personalised ‘je ne sais quoi’ when designing or identifying new spaces for clients, which ultimately ensures tenant satisfaction and retention rates.
Commenting on the link between employees and job satisfaction, Debbie said, “Employees spend so much time at work that it only makes sense for businesses to place their employees’ needs at the forefront, in order to provide them with a wholesome experience, and our spaces do exactly that. We have clients who base their decision to move to Waterfall solely on its people’s needs because choosing the right location for the business can contribute to satisfaction, overall wellness and in turn, minimise employee turnover.”
In Attacq’s case, the uniqueness lies in its ability to develop community-driven precincts that result in a mixed-use real estate ecosystem. This increasingly popular ecosystem offers a truly, work-live-play environment where people can reside, holiday, gym, attend to work commitments, indulge in retail therapy, as well as unwind over dinner plans with friends and family. Most recently, Attacq unveiled the launch of a new-generation 4-star Courtyard Hotel, further positioning Waterfall City as Gauteng’s business and leisure destination of choice. The precinct model, whether large scale like Waterfall or on a smaller scale like Lynnwood Bridge, is a value proposition that offers people the opportunity to find fulfilment in locations that cater for most of their day-to-day requirements. As a result, promoting a meaningful life.
Despite the current unprecedented trading conditions, the Mall of Africa owner has seen positive leasing activity. Since July 2020, Attacq has managed to secure exceptional lease renewals, where 78.9% of the expired 34 037m² was renewed during the company’s six months period ended 31 December 2020. Attacq maintains a robust pipeline and continues to see healthy levels of enquiries for its quality, safe and sustainable spaces.
Our goal at Attacq has always been to build and maintain a long-term relationship with our clients, which we strive to establish from our initial interaction. The robust leasing activity can be attributed to the strong relationships our team has with our clients. This allows Attacq to fully understand its clients’ unique needs and the foresight needed to adapt to their ever-evolving requirements as the business progresses. A perfect example of Attacq’s success with their client journey is Garden Route Mall, which was fully let despite the five-year lease renewal cycle during such an unprecedented time.
Remaining flexible and adapting to the clients’ dynamic needs is crucial in this environment. Attacq is a firm believer in creating open and honest environments that encourage clients to be upfront. This is particularly important as it ensures that clients do not have to wait until the last minute to bring forward any potential challenges, therefore minimising the risks of losing the client.
Attacq’s mixed-use spaces are always strategically located in areas that can offer accessibility, locality, convenience and a sense of community, therefore ensuring clients are getting bang for their buck. Attacq spaces are an obvious choice given that these spaces offer work-life integration. More employers are aligning with the precinct working model in assisting with employee satisfaction.
Among other contributing factors that make Attacq spaces attractive is that they are quite new, with state-of-the-art spatial and holistic urban and green design. The spaces are built with the highest environmental and sustainability standards in mind, making them ideal for eco-conscious businesses that also appreciate aesthetics.
Some of Attacq’s new tenants include the Auditor-General South Africa, FNB and Cotton On. The retail portfolio demonstrates its quality by attracting brands such as Gap, Kauai, Paul’s Ice Cream, Hydraulics, Yokico and Vida e Caffe. Hugo, which is due to open at the Mall of Africa on 1 May 2021, is one of many clients joining the Attacq family.
“It is encouraging to still see so many deals happening during such an unprecedented time, even though they are happening differently. I am proud to be part of such a phenomenal team that can secure and keep an exceptional client base and that is able to withstand the current headwinds,” concludes Theron.