Insurer takes five floors in landmark CBD office block

MUTUAL and Federal Insurance has signed a 10-year lease for 5 557m2 over five floors in Safmarine House, boasting occupancy of the CBD landmark building to 98%.

The lease, effective from last Thursday, follows the acquisition by Mutual and Federal of CGU Insurance, which led to increased space requirements. One of the city’s largest leasing deals in recent years, it involved relocating the eight existing tenants within the office tower.

Viv Delbridge, of Old Mutual Properties’ Corporate Real Estate Services, who handled the deal, says the lease is a further signal of the Cape Town CBD’s vibrancy.

She says Mutual and Federal wanted a presence on contiguous floors in the A-grade flagship in the CBD only if the right deal was struck.

“There was some space available in the building after an office downsizing by the building’s former major tenant, SA Marine Corporation (Safmarine), in the wake of its takeover by Danish shipping line OP Möller. That came after we negotiated consolidation of operations and the renegotiations of some leases, which facilitated the conclusion of the multi-million-dollar sale to OP Möller.”

Marten van Leeuwen, branch manager of Mutual and Federal Cape Town, said Safmarine House was an appropriate location because it was near a public transport system, it gave the company a presence in a building that matched its own blue-chip image in the CBD, which was clearly benefiting from initiatives of the City Improvement District, and it was convenient for clients.

Nigel Ressell, who handles national property requirements for Mutual and Federal, added that though there were reasonable alternatives on the market, Mutual and Federal was happy that Old Mutual Properties was able to go to such lengths to create a property solution and the kind of space the insurer required.

“Brenda Bibby, property manager of Safmarine House for Old Mutual Properties, began to negotiate with eight existing tenants in April last year”, says Delbridge. Delbridge is now assisting M&F with space requirements in Old Mutual Centre in Durban, another building managed by Old Mutual Properties, and will be developing solutions for M&F in the Johannesburg and Pretoria CBD.


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