The Willbridge team over more than a decade have been part of the advisory team with the then Mutual and Federal group of companies – now Old Mutual Insure.
Over the years property transactions took place that added value to their company… being better locations, branding and cost improvements for the company. We did the deals in all the major cities being Cape town, Durban, Pretoria and Windhoek.
Their Head Office, however, based in the JHB CBD was always the challenge, being 24 000sqm’s of tower block, in an area increasingly being hit by crime and the lack of internal parking was making it even more unsafe for the staff to commute to the office safely. OMI owned the building and desperately wanted to move, but who would buy a building with no parking in the JHB CBD?
That is where Willbridge and their networks and consulting came in – hunting down the optimal property solution. Firstly the JV was formed with neighbouring FNB who also had the need to create parking for their owned next-door building. We got to work in creating a parkade of 550 parking bays to bring each building back to marketability. Securing the first step in the puzzle, the building got the interest of the Bayete Capital Fund having one of the government departments in tow which enabled them to pay the full price for the building and thereby house this government department in a very suitable building.
The second step was another happy story in that the KPMG campus in Parktown owned by Old Mutual was a perfect solution and fit for Old Mutual Insure requirement – ticking all the boxes of area, size, status and branding, and also relieving KPMG of a long and onerous lease at a time when they needed to reduce their contractual space commitments hastily.
Old Mutual happy to get a new 7-year lease from their “cousin” company, making the valuation of their asset increase and have more stability – everyone was happy. A wonderful story for many entities but a complex set of property negotiations to get there.