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110 PROPERTY | Land Equity Group Land Equity Group was founded in 2008 by veteran South African property entrepreneurs Stuart Chait and Russell Smith and
is fast approaching its 10th anniversary next year. Over the last decade, the company has developed a wide range of skills and expertise within the South African property sector, which have been instilled by Chait and Smith from their vast experience in previous roles.
Chait has been in property for 30 years, during which he has established a number of companies which have evolved into Land Equity Group, beginning with Newport Property Group back in 1989. From there, he started a BEE property development company called Mvelaphanda Property Development Holdings (SA’s  rst BEE developer) in 2001, which was followed by Property Partners (SA’s  rst hybrid developer and mezzanine  nancier) in 2003 and
 nally Land Equity Group  ve years later. Throughout its existence, Land Equity has focused on developing properties across a number of varied sectors in South Africa, including residential and retail, but it’s focus is mixed-use developments.
The  rm has also been involved in a series of industrial and factory projects, and has built its budding reputation on locating existing property with high and unexplored potential,  nding equity and then transforming the
buildings into world-class developments across all its focus sectors.
With a clear emphasis on mixed-use regenerative projects across South
Africa’s two most highly developed cities Johannesburg and Cape Town, Land Equity has formulated a unique strategy which relies on a number of di cult skills, including foresight and imagination, but also deal- making and  nancing.
Business strategy
“Our key strengths include deal-making
and being to identify existing sites of high- potential and being able to then recycle them or redevelop them into something that wasn’t there before,” says Chait.
Land Equity’s formation directly coincided with the onset of the 2008 global credit crisis, which was a crucial contributor towards the company’s embryonic business strategy, that has gradually evolved since the period Chait labels ‘the apocalyptic years’ in the property market.
The volatile  nancial market of 2008, and the resulting widespread elimination of equity across the South African property sector, proved to be a baptism of  re for Land Equity. However, the credit crisis also served to recalibrate the  rm’s business plan.
“After [the credit crisis], we began to focus on our ‘post-apocalyptic’ projects. We went about changing our business plan, raising a lot of capital and tying up various

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