Hotel group invests in Durban beachfront properties

I posted this article because it prompted a flashback to my childhood.

At that time the Maharani and Elangeni represented the epitome of luxury in my mind.  I was never fortunate enough to stay there but even driving along the Marine Parade in the back of my parents car (on an exciting day-trip into Durban from our South Coast holiday), I remember looking at them in wonder.

Gareth Shepperson
Commercial and Property Attorney

Hotel group invests in Durban beachfront properties

Tsogo Sun says the R1.8 billion investment in its entertainment business on Durban's North Beach, announced this week, is an indication of the group's confidence in the city.

Tsogo announced its aggressive expansion programme amid severe consumer weakness in South Africa.

But the group said the move, which will see the massive expansion of Suncoast, ignored negative sentiment.

Speaking at the launch of the new multipurpose venue on the 31st floor of the Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani Hotel's Maharani Tower, Sky, chief executive Marcel von Aulock detailed the group's plans.

Projects totalling R3bn were highlighted out of a programme that exceeds R6bn, including expanding facilities, bidding for new operations and acquiring additional assets.

Following last year's announcement about the increase in capacity granted by the Gauteng Gaming Board, the group was halfway done with the R560m Silverstar development.

The development, the group said, would include new restaurants, event spaces, movies and entertainment, and 'creating an entertainment destination of the variety and scale never before seen on the West Rand'.

This will be completed by August.

At Gold Reef City, Tsogo is investing R630m in the construction of restaurants and movies, a refurbishment of the Gold Reef Theme Park, including the mine museum, and the extension of the Apartheid Museum.

In the same vein, Tsogo is planning a R1.8bn expansion to the Suncoast development on the Durban North Beach.

This project includes the construction of a 22 000m destination mall, multiple restaurants, rooftop resort-style swimming pools and a 2 000-seat multipurpose venue and a casino floor expansion.

The development is expected to take three years to complete and the group hopes to start construction this year, once all the regulatory requirements have been met.

Von Aulock said: 'Making these investments at a time when the consumer market is under pressure, sentiment is weak and uncertainty around many government policies abounds is not easy.

'But we have great faith in the South African economy and believe that, over time, as fundamentals normalise, these investments will reward handsomely.

'You simply can't wait for everything to be rosy before you invest in growing the business.

'The key reasons Tsogo is doing well are our focus on South Africa and understanding of the local market.

'Our low levels of debt mean we can afford to invest in the future.

'We have a strong hotel business in Africa, where we invested an additional R1bn in the last year, in our hotels in Lagos and Maputo.

'These properties are providing good returns, but South Africa remains the heart of the machine.'

Tsogo said through its investments more than 12 000 construction jobs and 1 000 direct, permanent jobs would be created, before taking into account the impact of the upstream suppliers.

These large-scale expansions into entertainment facilities are complemented by a substantial hotel refurbishment and investment programme, with particular emphasis on the Durban market, which has been showing strong growth potential since the city upgraded the beachfront.

'Word appears to be getting out as people realise what is happening in Durban and the city is rapidly growing its reputation as a superb conference and event destination,' Von Aulock said.

Tsogo Sun has hospitality investments that encompass 14 casinos and more than 90 hotels in Africa and the Seychelles.

The group is listed on the JSE, with key shareholders including Hosken Consolidated Investments and SABMiller, the London-listed brewing company.

Sunday Tribune


Denny Crane

Denny Crane
It's not me ... yet. Denny Crane from the TV series Boston Legal. Click on picture if you're not sure who he is!