FORTRESS Logistics Real Estate’s commitment to develop over a million square metres of logistics assets over the next two to three years, effectively transforming the weighting of its portfolio to two thirds big box logistics, came into its own in 2020/2021.
That’s according to Jason Cooper, Head of Development at Fortress Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), who said the strategy equipped South Africa’s largest supplier of logistics real estate with the “ready-built runway” to support key clients’ new supply and logistics strategies in response to COVID-19.
Fortress Logistics Real Estate’s focus combined with its commitment to developing quality infrastructure at prime locations close to the airport and the Port of Durban saw all of its speculative buildings let. “This high let ratio enabled us to accelerate our logistics pipeline at key nodes around the city throughout the pandemic.”
Cooper said increased roof heights and yard dimensions in “state-of-the-art logistics parks meeting increased global fire regulation, security and insurance standards” underpinned the company’s success in signing new leases throughout the COVID-19 period.
Fortress’s Clairwood Logistics Park, “our signature development in KZN combining prime port access with best-in-class logistics infrastructure concluded a very large deal with Kings Rest Container Group for about 56 000 square metres. African Sugar Logistics took up a further 35 000 square metres at Clairwood and will move in early May 2021,” Cooper said.
At Fortress’s Cornubia Logistics Park, very close to Umhlanga, “we completed our first speculative building. This building is fully let to Upl and RetailAbility”.
The company is about to commence on its next two speculative developments on Cornubia’s lower platform. One building of about 10 000 square metres and the other one of around 6 500 square metres are seeing this logistics precinct gather momentum. “We are in discussions with numerous other large users regarding pre-let contracts.”
Cooper said that with tenants concentrating on consolidating operations, Fortress’s more efficient buildings at Clairwood and Cornubia allow the storage of significantly more product. “Solar energy, 24-hour security and on-site utilities also provide clients the efficiencies and operational savings that new modern facilities offer.”
The result is that despite a difficult year, “the appetite for quality, well-located logistics real estate warehouses has supported considerable growth in the logistics sector,” he said.