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 team has been nothing short of amazing. They have never hesitated and have always been quick to access the vast depth of resources within the firm to provide us with the highest-quality advice, opinion and service."

Chambers Global 2018

"They have excellent, in-depth real estate knowledge; the best knowledge in the sector."

Chambers Global 2018

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.
  • 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 ZAR 1,2 billion.

  • 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 – ZAR 10,6billion; Sycom – ZAR 10 billion.

  • 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.

  • 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 valued client of the firm and one of the largest financial institutions in South Africa. Value ZAR 1, 613 billion.

  • 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 (Pretoria) and Cavendish Shopping Centre (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 ZAR 4, 318 billion.

  • 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 ZAR 1.1 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.

  • 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 Futuregrowth has agreed to loan Cosmopolitan ZAR 625 million.

    Our team is attending to the registration of a mortgage bond (being the "mother bond') as security for funding to the value of ZAR 625 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.

  • 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 ZAR 128 000 000 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 ZAR 128,000,000 for raw land value.

  • 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 ZAR 368 400 000.

  • 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 ZAR 10,5 billion.
  • Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr is again representing Vukile Property Fund Limited (Vukile); Arrowhead, a listed property loan stock company holding a diverse portfolio of retail, industrial and commercial buildings; and Synergy, a limited liability variable stock loan company in the creation of Gemgrow, a real estate fund. To establish GemGrow, Synergy’s portfolio was reconstituted with properties from both Vukile and Arrowhead as its asset base.  For Vukile, this meant a ZAR 2.45 billion asset swap where Synergy exchanged its portfolio of 14 retail shopping centres for 29 of Vukile’s higher-yielding office, retail and industrial properties.  Under the teams of the deal, in addition to Gemgrow’s creation, Vukile becomes a specialised retail property fund with over 90 per cent of its portfolio comprising high-end retail assets.  For Arrowhead, this meant Synergy acquiring the shares and claims in Cumulative Properties from Arrowhead, including 100 properties worth circa ZAR 1.9 billion.  Synergy issued shares to Arrowhead in consideration, giving Arrowhead control of Synergy.  Synergy was reconstituted as Gemgrow Properties Limited with an amended memorandum of incorporation and pre-listing statement.

  • Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr is again representing SA Retail Properties Proprietary Limited (SAR) in the acquisition of Vaxirox Investment Proprietary Limited (Vaxirox) as well as in the acquisition of six properties. The transaction also includes the right to purchase self-storage sites for future development and has a total deal value of circa ZAR 1.2 billion. Complicated tax and competition law issues were navigated and resolved, achieving a unique structure, which aligned to SAR's requirements, being a wholly-owned subsidiary of a REIT.

  • Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr is representing AFHCO Holdings Proprietary Limited, SAC's wholly-owned subsidiary (AFHCO) in the establishment of a new joint venture company, AFHCO Consortium 2 Proprietary Limited held by AFHCO (60 per cent) and JR 209 Proprietary Limited (JR209) (40 percent) for the acquisition by the joint venture of residential units to be constructed and developed by JR 209 with funding from AFHCO.

  • Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr represented Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF), a fund provided by the South African Government for short term unemployment; and Land Bank, the specialist agricultural bank guided by a Government mandate to provide financial services to the commercial farming sector and to agri-business. Our real estate team advised these clients in the registration of various mortgage bonds and notarial general and special bonds.

  • Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr represented ABSA Bank in the registration of a mortgage bond over Vukile Property Fund Limited's on third share in the Thavhani Mall.

  • Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr represented SA Airlink, the privately-owned airline focused on linking smaller towns and regional centres throughout the country. Our real estate team led work on the registration of three aircraft mortgages in favour of ECC Leasing, an Ireland-based aviation leasing leader world-wide.

Practice Area Rankings

  • Chambers Global 2017 - 2018 ranked us in Band 1 for real estate.
  • Legal 500 EMEA 2014–2018 listed us in Tier 1 for real estate.
  • Best Lawyers International 2017 named CDH Law Firm of the Year in the practice area of real estate law.
  • Best Lawyers International 2013–2016 listed us for real estate.

Ranked Practitioners

  • John Webber is the National Practice Head of the Real Estate team. The Legal 500 EMEA 2018 recommended him for real estate. Chambers Global 2017–2018 ranked.

  • Lucia Erasmus in Band 3 for real estate. The Legal 500 EMEA 2014, 2016–2018 recommended her for real estate. Best Lawyers International 2013–2018 listed Lucia for real estate law.

  • Best Lawyers International 2018 listed Simone Franks for real estate law.

  • Best Lawyers International 2018 listed Andrew Heiberg for real estate law.

  • Chambers Global 2017–2018 ranked William Midgley in Band 2 for real estate. The Legal 500 EMEA 2017–2018 recommended him as a leading individual for real estate and recommended him in 2016 for real estate.

  • Chambers Global 2017–2018 ranked Attie Pretorius in Band 1 for real estate. The Legal 500 EMEA 2017–2018 recommended him as a leading individual for real estate and in 2015–2016 he was recommended for real estate. Best Lawyers International 2014 listed him as the Johannesburg Real Estate Law Lawyer of the Year and listed him for real estate law from 2014–2018. Who’s Who Legal 2012–2014 identified Attie as a leading lawyer in real estate and in 2014 he was identified in The International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers. Attie received a Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Real Estate Law at the inaugural SA Professional Services Awards 2014.