Timothy Sammons intended to start his career as an engineer after university, but he chose a completely different path
Sammons’s passion for property began as a child, but developed as he became interested in city revival and gentrification. “My business partner, Jeff Kleu, has a similar passion for creating great spaces for people. Capital Point Properties provides brokerage and a platform for commercial leasing and selling of properties. We aim to be the answer for any business that has property needs.”
Breaking into the highly competitive Rosebank, Johannesburg, market has been a highlight for Sammons. “We renovated an old building, which inspired changes to the entire area. Seeing Rosebank come alive because of this created a great sense of accomplishment,” he says.
Finding quality operators to fill spaces is proving to be difficult. “We need interesting, new concepts to support the spaces we create. Empty spaces and not remaining relevant equal a loss of income. Currently, we try pop-ups – which are successful – or approaching tenants directly. But what else can we do to improve this process?” asks Sammons.
CLIMB OUT THE BOX
Lebo Motshegoa from Foshizi says it’s important to understand target markets. “This makes it easier to talk to them, sell to them and, consequently, know where they are. It also indicates income brackets and affordability. In this competitive market, it’s also essential to research competitors to avoid losing business to them.”
With this understanding, there are different ways to find the right tenants. “If you know your target market well, you should know which areas they come from. For example, many students are looking at Rosebank, but you need to market to their parents as much as to them.
“A letter of intent doesn’t require financial commitment, but of 10 such letters, at least one or two will follow through.”
“Also, don’t waste time looking for only one kind of tenant. Rather have three options for your solutions. Think of it as having Rolls-Royce, BMW and Mercedes offerings for potential tenants.”
Lastly, if you’re seeking innovative businesses, look at places where changes are happening. “If Rosebank isn’t offering as many of those businesses, it might be time to consider other areas – for example, Waterfall Estate, which is attracting people from around the country. Alternatively, consider popular trends, like hot-desking, in the property environment; nowadays entrepreneurs run businesses from coffee shops. These are great opportunities,” says Motshegoa.
DIRECTION IS KEY
Theo Sibiya from AT Kearney believes Sammons’s business has fantastic long-term potential for success. “Breaking into the highly sought-after Rosebank market is a big achievement. Redevelopment and transformation have made offices there more expensive than in Sandton.”
He agrees that knowing your target audience is essential. “Use this analysis to secure commitments from potential tenants before starting redevelopment. It ensures that value propositions are clear and properties can be based on specific needs. A letter of intent doesn’t require financial commitment, but of 10 such letters, at least one or two will follow through.”
Sammons should also use specific channels to find specific tenants. “Pop-ups are useful, but don’t always attract long-term interest. Consider property expos and community events. Understand where you sit in the eco-system to find the right tenants. Draw tenants quickly by offering attractive benefits, like a firstmonth rent holiday. Each month a building stands empty increases the risk of failure in this industry.”
Sammons should also consider low-volume, highquality sourcing. “Online sites produce hundreds of weak leads. Look at places like innovation incubators [see alongside] to find innovative businesses.”
Sibiya commends Sammons on his enterprising attitude. “He has the spirit of adventure necessary for this environment.”
Theo Sibiya, Partner and Director of AT Kearney. Tel: 010 492 5100. Visit: atkearney.com
Lebo Motshegoa, MD of Foshizi. Tel: 011 234 7003. Visit: foshizi.co.za