South Africa's largest owner of serviced business and logistics parks is commencing construction of its next-generation 'last-mile logistics hub' in Paarden Eiland, outside Cape Town's city centre.
A 5,000m² space, right at the Cape Town port, previously occupied by a longstanding Inospace client who has moved to a nearby business park, will be converted into a distribution hub offering 30 individual units with a host of technology-driven logistics services.
According to Inospace director Jacques Weber, “The digitalisation of the retail industry has revolutionised traditional commerce, which has been further realised and accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic.” Weber explains that while South African consumers are increasingly exchanging in-store retail for online shopping, “the expectation of instant gratification remains – consumers demand cheap and fast delivery options. As a consequence, distribution hubs for goods in urban areas has rapidly grown. We are starting to see rental growth in inner locations as businesses try to get closer to the consumer and modernise facilities."
Last-mile delivery is commonly defined as the "last stretch of a business-to-consumer parcel delivery service" as 'e-tailers' implement logistical solutions by securing warehouse and distribution space to house their inventory as close to their customer base. Demand for last-mile property has recently spiked with the desire for quick, efficient delivery of goods to consumers near high-density commercial and retail nodes, and according to Weber, “Our well-located site at our flagship Island Works park is a 10-minute drive from Cape Town’s CBD.”
He adds that demand has been high for companies to deliver goods into critical commercial and residential nodes. “The wooden-floored new hub at Island Works has already attracted considerable interest from prospective tenants in multiple sectors." According to Weber, "There is no doubt that we have become the first-choice company for small and medium businesses looking for serviced logistics and business parks.”
The demand for logistics space is not only from big companies looking for large-sized logistics spaces. Smaller spaces, as provided by Inospace, is attracting huge demand from SMME companies who need last-mile logistics space. The company has reported that its occupancy is at 95%, and has rolled out a flurry of new parks in Johannesburg and Cape Town.
The original home of Cape Town’s wool industry, Island Works is steeped in history. The buildings were initially developed in the 1930s and sit right in the middle of an iconic strip between the harbour and the city. The site has many transport links, including the nearby N1 highway. It has maintained a 100-percent occupancy throughout the Corona pandemic due to its strategic location and demand for logistics facilities near the city.
Inospace acquired the 26,000m² Island Works in 2017 and is one of the company’s larger business parks in its 42-site national portfolio. Now stylishly modernised with contemporary features whilst retaining its period elegance, Island Works' new logistics hub will set itself apart from traditional industrial space with industrial-style facilities, an independent coffee shop, architecturally designed lounge areas and breakout spaces.
The hub will be launched in March 2022 and will offer staffed reception, meeting rooms, delivery and drop-off areas, and technology-enabled logistics services. Original exposed brickwork will sit alongside eco-friendly facilities. According to Inospace, the company has less than 5% vacancy in its national portfolio due to significant demand for spaces offering logistics and distribution sites. "We are becoming the choice provider for businesses looking for multi-use functional logistics and warehousing spaces," said Weber.