Our Real Estate team

has the resources and expertise to handle large volumes of real estate transactions whatever their size or nature.

Groundbreaking Matters

The practice is valued for their “breadth of experience” and considerable bench strength. Interviewees consistently rate the practice as “one of the best real estate practices in South Africa.”

Chambers Global 2017

We act for businesses and private individuals, and our comprehensive real estate services include:

  • Commercial developments and investments.
  • Health and safety regulations.
  • Joint ventures.
  • Land use rights.
  • Leasing and facilities management.
  • Mergers and acquisitions, disposals and due diligence.
  • Property leasing and management.
  • Real estate and project financing.
  • Sale and acquisition of property.
  • Structuring real estate transactions.
  • Negotiating terms and drafting agreements pertaining to the sale of a letting enterprise of various shops in respect of East Rand Mall.
  • Waterfall Estate Developments: This development was referred to as “the biggest property development in South African history” by the Financial Mail in 2006. A recent report regarding the economic impact analysis of this development states that that the total economic impact of the development is approximately R106 billion. All properties in this development are not owner in freehold, but are held by a long term lease (registered for an initial period of 99 years). Our role includes co-ordination, execution, and registration of residential and commercial leases in this development, and further legal advice when requested.
  • Tower Property Fund: Together with our corporate and commercial department we dealt with the listing of the above fund and the property aspects relating thereto.
  • Semcan Properties / Arrowhead Properties: Negotiating and drafting agreements pertaining to the sale and transfer of a letting enterprise on behalf of Sasol Pension Fund to Arrowhead Properties.
  • Protea Hospitality Group: Advised on the internal restructuring and transfer of properties relating thereto as a result of Marriott International's acquisition of part of Protea's business.
  • Advised Equites Property Fund on their Property Fund Listing Project and attended to the transfer of the property portfolio.
  • Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr acted on behalf of the Vukile Property Fund Limited (Seller) and Mendo Properties (Proprietary) Limited in this major transaction, involving the sale of 5 letting enterprises operating from the following five commercial buildings:

    Bloemfontein Fedsure House : Boasts 10 866 square meters of gross lettable area and key tenants include Pepkor, South African Revenue Services and the Department of Justice.

    Pretoria Arcadia Suncardia: A shopping centre in the heart of Arcadia that has 28 937 square meters of gross lettable area. Key tenants include the Department of Rural Development, Shoprite Checkers and the Standard Bank of South Africa Limited.

    Pretoria Navarre: Consists of 47 519 square meters of gross lettable area and key tenants include First National Bank Limited and the Department of Public Works: South African Police Services.

    Pretoria De Bruyn Park: Consists of 41 418 square meters of gross lettable area and key tenants include Department of Public Work: Stats, Morkels and Capitec Bank Limited.

    Pretoria Koedoe Arcade: Consists of 13 402 square meters of gross lettable area with Department of Public Works: South African Police Services being the principal tenant.

    Our real estate team's ongoing work is significant to the success of this colossal transaction. Value Circa R 1,2 billion

    Lead lawyers: Chairman, National Practice Head and Director, Attie Pretorius
  • Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr advised in the conversions of collective investment schemes in property (CISP) to Corporate Real Estate Investment Trusts (Corporate REITS) on behalf of firm clients, Capital Property Fund (the CISP) to Capital Property Fund Limited (the Corporate REIT) (completed in 2014); SA Corporate Real Estate Fund to SA Corporate Real Estate Limited (2014/5); and a REIT conversion and scheme of arrangement in terms of which Sycom is to be delisted as a Collective Investment Scheme in Property and its assets transferred to Growthpoint Properties Limited. Both of the SAC conversion and the Sycom scheme were complex matters involving the CISP transferring all of its assets and liabilities to a new company, which in the case of SAC was listed on the JSE as a Corporate REIT and in the case of Sycom was acquired by Growthpoint Properties Limited. Both transactions involved obtaining complex tax rulings from SARS and the implementation of the transactions had to take into account these ground breaking rulings. Value SA Corporate – R10,6billion; Sycom – R10 billion

    Lead lawyers: Director, William Midgley
  • This multifaceted transaction involved the sale of 100% of the shares and the equity of a property-owning company, Manupont 124 Proprietary Limited held by Euroamykasa S.A, an entity registered in the Kingdom of Spain to Eight Investment Company, a company registered in Saudi Arabia. The property in question was a unique game and hunting lodge, consisting of 16 farms in the Limpopo Province collectively measuring approximately 13000 hectares. Some of the amenities on the property included 8 boreholes, citrus orchards, airstrip, three separate lodges, a tent camp, farmyard with two houses and outbuildings storage shed and facilities, an auction facility, several outlook shelters and hides, a Buffalo breeding camp, a Njala breeding camp, a Sable breeding camp, a Sable bull camp and a Lion boma.

    The transaction required the input of various departments, including mining and mineral rights, environmental and tax. From a property perspective, our team headed the due diligence investigation, procured the valuation of the property and game and advised extensively on the movable and immovable aspects of the transaction.

    Land claims that had been lodged against the various properties were of particular concern in the sale, and the real estate team conducted an in-depth investigation into the possible consequences. Value Approximately €45 million

    Lead lawyers: Chairman, National Practice Head and Director, Attie Pretorius, together with Directors, Lauren Wilson and Nonhla Mchunu

  • Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr acted for FirstRand Bank Limited in the negotiation and drafting of security documents for the financing of JMH Group through a special purpose vehicle structure. We attended to the registration of various mortgage bonds and notarial bonds over the various properties situated throughout South Africa. FirstRand Bank Limited is a value client of the firm and one of the largest financial institutions in South Africa. Value R1, 613 billion.

    Lead lawyers: Chairman, National Practice Head and Director, Attie Pretorius
  • Pareto Limited (Pareto) and Old Mutual Life Assurance (South Africa) Limited (OMLACSA) were co-owners of ½ undivided shares in and to Menlyn Park Shopping Centre and Cavendish Shopping Centre – two of the most well-known shopping malls in Cape Town. The parties desired to conclude an asset swap in their respect interests whereby Pareto becomes the full owner of Menlyn Park Shopping Centre and OMLACSA becomes the full owner of Cavendish Shopping Centre.

    Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr advised, negotiated and drafted the agreements for the asset swap of the parties' undivided shares in Menlyn Park Shopping Centre and Cavendish Shopping Centre.

    This transaction involved complex commercial and property intricacies relating to the asset swap. Many considerations had to be taken into account and the structure of the agreements had to be carefully considered and drafted accordingly: e.g. co-ownership agreements which were in place at the time; tax consequences; payment of the purchase price; taking into account current phase development on certain properties; etc.

    We further attended to the transfer of the properties making up the Menlyn Park Shopping Centre, which apportioned value was R3.2 billion. This transfer was registered on 30 November 2015. Value R4, 318 billion.

    Lead lawyers: Chairman, National Practice Head and Director, Attie Pretorius
  • Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr advised on the acquisition by SACREL of 50% of the shares and claims in three Mauritian Companies (Graduare Mauritius Limited, Ancona Mauritius Limited and Premier LM&C Mauritius Limited). Through this acquisition, SACREL indirectly acquired a 50% share in a portfolio of three shopping centres and an office park in Zambia as well as 3 on-going development projects.

    The transaction involved complex matters of Zambian real estate and lease and tax law in relation to the acquisition of the Zambian companies and the three ongoing developments as well as complex Mauritian and South African tax law issues to ensure that SACREL’s interest and income flows were protected in both the Mauritian and Zambian jurisdictions. It also involved South African Exchange Control applications and South African JSE announcements.

    The transaction was funded through a R1.1 billion rights offer to SACREL shareholders in which CDH also acted for SACREL and in which the firm played a pivotal role in the finalisation of the rights offer circular. USD 46.7 million

    Lead lawyers: Directors, William Midgley and Biddy Faber; Associate, Kelsey Biddulph
  • Cosmopolitan is involved in the development of affordable housing in certain areas. Futuregrowth Asset Management Proprietary Limited and Cosmopolitan have concluded a facility agreement whereby Fututregrowth has agreed to loan Cosmopolitan R625 million.

    Our team is attending to the registration of a mortgage bond (being the "mother bond') as security for funding to the value of R625 million. We are bonding farm land on which townships are to be developed. As and when such townships are developed, we will attend to the release of such township from operation of the mother bond. In this case the entire "batch" of properties forming the township will be released as a "bulk release" and will then become trading stock of Cosmopolitan.

    We also coordinated the finances of the advanced amount and apportioned it so to settle and refinance Cosmopolitan's existing bank debt; settle and refinance Cosmopolitan's existing group loans; and finance the costs of the installation of internal services and external services on certain properties to be developed.

    Lead lawyers: Chairman, National Practice Head and Director, Attie Pretorius
  • Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr is advising property developer and repeat client, Abland on the acquisition of unserviced & unproclaimed land for purposes of a mixed use development. Abland identified unserviced and unproclaimed land close to Waterfall Mall, which forms part of Waterfall Estate – a 640ha upmarket residential village near Johannesburg. Our client intends to use the land for office, retail, motor dealership purposes with a residential component . They approached inter alia Audi, Bidvest, Pick & Pay, BMW and Pivitol Fund to participate in the future development of the land. Abland acquired the land for R128 000 000 million utilising funds advanced by the consortium members. Loan agreements had to be drafted linked to a sale of a township. The original township application had to be amended to create seven townships as it is not legally possible to sell an erf in an unproclaimed township.

    By structuring the deal the way we did, Abland saved the interest on funding and the purchasers received the benefit get the advantage of acquiring the land at a lower purchase price. All the risks were duly considered, debated and addressed. Value R128,000,000 for raw land value

    Lead lawyers: Director, Lucia Erasmus
  • As part of the restructuring process, Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr had to transfer 16 immovable properties as a liquidation distribution in terms of section 46 of the Income Tax Act to Business Venture Investments 1858 Pty Ltd. The properties were situated in five different deeds offices and had to be transferred within a very short period of time. The agreements were signed on 23 January 2015 and we managed to transfer all the properties within two months. Value R368 400 000

    Lead lawyers: Directors, Lucia Erasmus, Willem Jacobs and Deon Wilken
  • Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr was instructed by FirstRand to attend to the registration of security by the PG Glass Group in favour of FirstRand for the financing of various subsidiaries in the PG Glass Group.

    Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr advised, negotiated and drafted various security documents and attended to the registration of various bonds as security for the obligations of the various subsidiaries in the PG Glass Group.

    A special feature in this transaction was that, as part of this matter, the firm was instructed to register a special notarial bond over certain movable items which were situated across the country. This involved a lot of "leg work" as identification of such items was procured by the photographing of such items and then inserting such photos into the bond documents. Value R10,5 billion

    Lead lawyers: Chairman, National Practice Head and Director, Attie Pretorius
  • Chambers Global 2017 ranked us in Band 1 for real estate.
  • Legal 500 EMEA 2014–2017 listed us in Tier 1 for real estate.
  • Best Lawyers International 2013–2016 listed us for real estate. Best Lawyers International 2017 named CDH Law Firm of the Year in the
    practice area of real estate law.
  • Property & Construction Team Of The Year 2014 awarded to our Real Estate practice in the African Legal Awards.