When it comes to property-development buzzwords, “mixed-use” is certainly one of the strongest. It is a characteristic of the era that we live in that people strive to simplify their daily routines, and having access to developments that offer office space, retail, medical and residential facilities in close proximity to each other, is often the dream. And it is this dream that Giflo Developments aim to facilitate, in a variety of locations, allowing a live-work-play lifestyle that ticks all the boxes.
This year, amid the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, the company celebrates 10 years in the business, having grown from a small concern focusing on office space, to a full-spectrum developer also experienced in residential, hotel, retail and medical developments countrywide.
During this anniversary year a lot of activity centres around the Centurion area, where the Irene Link precinct, in which Giflo is the major shareholder with partners Abland and SOM, is under development. The 75 000sqm precinct situated along the N1 highway between Johannesburg and Pretoria, includes the award-winning Barloworld head office, and a 12 000sqm retail and lifestyle centre that will open during 2021.
The company is also currently involved with two residential developments in Paarl in the Western Cape: Pearl Valley at Val de Vie and Paarl Valleij; as well as two in Gauteng: Little Falls in Roodepoort and The Woods in Kyalami.
“We don’t know what the world will look like post the pandemic, but there is likely to be reflection on how we live, and the lessons learnt during times when movement was restricted, and motor vehicle use was limited,” says Giflo founder and owner Michiel Scharrighuisen. “From that perspective we believe that people will increasingly choose living and working environments with lifestyle in mind, and that will certainly play a role in our decision-making as developers.”
The Scharrighuisen brothers, Michiel and Regardt, founded the company in 2010 and explain that the strength in partnerships is a core value of the company. “Identifying the right partners for any development project has always been a priority,” says Michiel. “We firmly believe in the wisdom that any chain is as strong as its weakest link, and at Giflo we aim to build chains of expertise, bringing the right people together for a project so that the end product benefits from the collaboration.”
Being awarded the Green Building Council South Africa’s five-star Green Star SA ratings in both the Design and As Built categories for the Barloworld head office was a definite highlight of the past year, and underlines the ethos of creating teams of the best industry professionals at the forefront of innovation. They are very proud of the rating, Michiel says, but what it confirms is even more important to the company. “It has shown that we have in our networks the skills required to create low-maintenance, highly functional, well-designed developments that conform to world-class green building standards. That is really exciting.”
The development and management of cutting-edge medical facilities is a further niche that Giflo specialises in. Regardt explains, “We formed Giflo Medical in 2016 when we realised that there were very few South African developers who operate in the world of medical development; which is highly specialised. And those who do have the skill tend to only operate in areas where they have a home base, whereas the Giflo Medical team operate across the whole of South Africa.” Another result of a strong partnership bringing divergent expertise together into a stronger whole, this division was formed with developer Ivan Makkink and architect Pieter Knoesen, and has developed acute as well as day hospitals, medical centres, clinics and similar purpose-created medical service spaces across South Africa. “We develop medical projects on a turnkey basis to deliver the final product at a fixed cost,” says Regardt.
Surviving and thriving to reach a tenth birthday in economically challenging times is a big reason for gratitude, and Giflo is deeply committed to its involvement with Community Keepers, a non-profit organisation based in Stellenbosch that looks after the welfare of learners from disadvantaged backgrounds. “The professional support services that Community Keepers provide at schools really make a difference in the communities they serve, and reaches beyond learners to parents, caregivers and educators too. We have seen them change lives since we first became involved in 2015, and it means a lot to be able to partner with an organisation that invests in the future of the country by investing in the youth,” says Michiel. Giflo are also proud sponsors of the first rugby teams of Paarl Gimnasium and Pretoria’s Afrikaans Hoër Seunskool (Affies).