Development and future technologies post Covid-19

Giles Pendleton is the Chief Development Officer at Attacq Limited and currently a Non-Executive Director and Chair elect of the Green Building Council of South Africa. We chat about Waterfall City South Africa's 1st Smart City, how Covid-19 is impacting projects and clients, his worst case scenario of the pandemic, smart technologies and positive vibes.

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Key Takeaways

Waterfall City, the 1st Smart City in Africa

  • Sustainability and Smart Cities ere becoming interwoven into one, you can’t have one without the other.
  • 70% of Attacq commercial tenants at Waterfall City are South Africa headquarters of global companies: PSG, PWC, Deloitte, Accenture, Honda, and Isuzu.
  • Tenants are attracted by the fact it is a clean, functioning, and working city where humans and the latest technologies go side by side.

Covid-19 impact on projects and clients

  • Too early to understand the true impact of Covid-19.
  • The first wave of the impact is people cannot go to work, tenants do not want to pay rent. The landlords who own the asset have to service debt, rates, and taxes.
  • When we attempt to go back to a normal world, the property industry as a whole will be hit hard.
  • Future buildings must be designed and operated in a different way.
  • Technologies will play a huge role in this new world. Offices will be de-densified.

Giles’ worst-case scenario for the impact of Covid-19

  • Owner perspective: Attacq owns 1million m2 of buildings. Rental guarantees are critical.
  • Development perspective: Stop-start is not good for construction. This is only lockdown 1, countries are predicting a 2nd and 3rd wave, and disruption is not good.
  • Landlord perspective: Giles sees companies taking less office space.

Smart tech will become part of our lives

  • Voice-activated lifts!
  • Detection and sensors. Ability to detect pathogens in air-conditioning systems.
  • Data will become more powerful to building owners.
  • Setting up smart systems to react in real-time of new problems.
  • A new era awaits, new technologies will in most cases need to be retrofit and with that brings high costs.

Positive vibes

  • South Africa didn’t have a great foundation before the pandemic, don’t focus on what you cannot control. Focus on what you can control.
  • The future will be around smart -nodes, especially around traffic and master planning.
  • There will be sunshine again and there will be another storm.

About Giles, Attacq, Waterfall City and the Green Building Council of South Africa

With over 20 years of global experience in Africa, Australia, Europe, and the Middle East, Giles joined Attacq as the Head of Developments on the 13th March 2018. His most recent role was in Dubai as the Development Director for Omniyat a premier Dubai developer in the Dubai International Financial Centre’s (DIFC) 2 Tower mixed-use complex that includes a 60 story Rosewood Hotel, Serviced Apartments and Residential tower and a 40 story office tower.  Prior to that, he was Vice President of Property Development and Head of Master Planning for the Dubai International Financial Centre Authority (DIFCA), a $25 billion, leading international financial hub for the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia (MEASA) region. From 2011 to 2013 Giles was the Managing Director of Development at Liberty Properties and prior to this has been based in Poland, Australia, and the UAE

Attacq’s vision is to be a premier South African-based REIT, delivering sustainable income and capital growth through a focused approach in real estate investments and developments.

Attacq has four key value drivers:
- A premium quality South African portfolio including retail, hotel, office and mixed-use and light industrial properties
- The development of Waterfall City and Waterfall Logistics Hub in Gauteng
- Investment in MAS Real Estate Inc. which is Attacq’s entry point into central and eastern European markets
- Retail investment in the rest of Africa (outside of South Africa)

Waterfall is the latest growth node of Gauteng, the economic hub of the African continent. Poised to be the new CBD of Gauteng, the largest urban concept development – Waterfall offers the ultimate Work-Life balance. Waterfall is rapidly developing into a true lifestyle and blue-chip business destination between the metropolis of Johannesburg and Pretoria. Waterfall sprawls from Modderfontein in the east beyond Kyalami in the West on both sides of Gauteng’s pulsating N1 highway.

Waterfall City, the CBD of Waterfall is conveniently located at the Allandale Road exit. This new commercial hub of Gauteng boasts the largest single phase mall in Africa, appropriately named The Mall of Africa. Mall visitors can look forward to a retail and lifestyle experience second to none with vogue international brands and esteemed South African brands offered in an elegant mall with more than 131,000m² retail space.  Waterfall Corner and Lifestyle extends the lifestyle offering of Waterfall. Trendy restaurants, leading high street retailers and a top gym lure visitors. The vibrant piazza at Waterfall Corner offers a lively family-orientated shopping, eating and relaxation destination.

At Waterfall, state-of-the-art spacial design is taken to the next level. Beautiful green surroundings, provide the ideal setting to live, work and play. Green building design and many lifestyle features including running lanes and a luscious green park, ensures the enjoyment of nature as part of this modern destination development.

Green Building Council of South Africa is inspiring an environment in which people and planet thrive. The GBCSA works with its membership community to inspire a built environment in which people and planet thrive. “We are passionate, collaborative planet shapers that operate across the commercial, residential and public sectors to ensure that buildings and homes are designed, built, and operated in an environmentally sustainable way. Our combined influence drives competitive, viable and professional membership advantages. GBCSA’s affiliations enable access to a community of experts at home and abroad.

The GBCSA is one of about 75 members of the World Green Building Council.”


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