This year marks my 18th year at Atterbury. Joining this incredible company in its infancy gave me the advantage of gaining experience in not only property and asset management, but also on project development. My exposure to everything from land acquisition, securing development rights and managing contractors, liaising with the new tenants and understanding and building their specification requirements, gave me experience that is invaluable in my current role. In fact, around 1 400 000 sqm of gross leasable area across South Africa, Mauritius, Cyprus, Serbia, Romania, Namibia, Ghana and Mozambique currently benefit from this accumulated experience.
Strategic asset management entails two elements – on the one hand the physical properties are managed on a day-to-day operational level, while on the other, assets are optimised for profitability in the most cost-efficient manner.
I’m very proud of my knowledgeable and experienced Atterbury Asset Management (AAM) team, that excels at providing the kind of property oversight that astute investors demand. This boils down to the tasks of maximising income while keeping costs down, but without compromising quality – and while this is a simple brief, it’s difficult to execute. It’s a full time, hands-on job.
My team is responsible for the optimisation of leasing strategies; including tenant mix, marketing strategies, investment strategies on acquisitions, disposals and redevelopment functions. They also handle the task of overseeing the various localised property managers who provide all the required operational services at each property.
Looking ahead at 2018, my team and I have identified two main focus areas. Firstly, we’ll support the Atterbury Europe asset management team under the local management of Vlad Valcea to become as strong as they can be. The current European portfolio include 19 assets with a few more in the pipeline.
It all comes with experience. I have headed the AAM team for the past 14 years and our first involvement in managing a team outside of the South African borders was with the opening of Bagatelle Mall of Mauritius in 2011. We then moved into Africa with the malls that opened in Accra and Kumasi in Ghana, as well as The Grove in Windhoek and more recently Dunes Mall in Walvis Bay, Namibia.
Atterbury’s entry into Europe happened in 2015 with the Mall of Cyprus and the Mall of Engomi. Operating costs were reduced significantly and an extensive refurbishment is currently underway, which will completely transform Mall of Cyprus by early 2019. Romania is next in our vision and we aim to apply our skills to maximise returns with the expansion of Ilius Mall Timisoara, which extends over 71 000sqm.
The other main focus for 2018 is on succession planning. In the dynamic Atterbury tradition, we are constantly planning for the future, looking for ways to expand the company and developing our most valuable asset, our people. Succession planning is vital to the growth of any forward-thinking company. We embrace this vision at AAM and are doing our utmost to firstly support the Deputy CEO, Armond Boshoff, and also to appoint new young talent who will be ready to take on the asset-management baton in years to come.
As for me, I’m excited to play a part in expanding the Atterbury Property Fund and DiverCity and enable my team to take AAM to the next level.