COMPANY HISTORYUsentra (Pty) Ltd
Usentra (Pty) Ltd was established as a public company on 17 October 1969 in Upington by a group of local businessmen, professionals and farmers.
The original name of the company was Upington Sake Sentrum Eiendoms Ltd but was shortened to Usentra Ltd during August 1974. The purpose of Usentra is to develop business premises for investment purposes and to assist in the expansion and growth of Upington. Usentra has also invested in property in Stilbaai and Stellenbosch, Western Cape.
When Usentra was established, A.J. Myburgh and G.D. Le Roux, both chartered accountants, were appointed to manage the company part-time. A.J. Myburgh was not only one of the founding members of the company, but also the inspiration, driving force and energy of Usentra for 38 years until he passed away in 2007.
Usentra was initially a public company and therefore shares could be traded freely. Originally the company had 300,000 shares worth 50 cents each. These shares were acquired by shareholders from the first few months of the company’s existence up until 28 February 1970.
Mr A.J. Myburgh
MR G.D. Le Roux
OCTOBER 1969 TO FEBRUARY 1970
At this time Usentra’s policy allowed for investment in Upington only. Every property purchased was transported to a separate subsidiary of Usentra. With its limited start up capital Usentra purchased and developed the following properties during this period:
Kalahari Butchery Building (1969).
Upington Mark Street Investments Building (1969).
Lampies Investments Building (1969).
Koelenhof Apartments (1969). This property was upgraded and the apartments were sold as sectional title units.
MARCH 1970 TO FEBRUARY 1974
During this period the share capital of Usentra was increased and a total of 1,395,000 shares were issued by 28 February 1974. The company did not distribute any dividends at this stage but instead used all available funds to purchase more properties and in some cases to redevelop properties. The following properties were purchased:
Upington Properties (1970). A new three-story building was erected on the premises.
Umbra Building (1970). Three plots were purchased and consolidated in order to be developed into the Umbra Building.
Upington Unex Building (1970). The existing building was doubled in size by adding a first floor to be used as offices.
Maanswyk (1971). These were industrial premises which have since been redeveloped.
Uprau Building (1971). This was a business premises in Mark Street and was later sold to Mr W. Gresse and G. Schmidt.
Ukowen Building (1972). The building was upgraded and eventually sold to Mr N. Murray and partners during 1995.
Ancorley Building (1973). Usentra purchased all the shares of Ancorley Building (Pty) Ltd located at 45 Scott Street. Ancorley Building (Pty) Ltd was established in 1957. The name Ancorley is a combination of the first names of the first shareholders’ spouses, Anna Brink, Corrie Carr and Shirley Lange. A portion of the Ancorley Building was expanded and upgraded.
MARCH 1974 TO JUNE 1985
During this time, the company continued to issue new shares and by 30 June 1985 a total of 2,000,000 shares had been issued. Below is a summary of purchases and property developments during this period:
Ancorley Building (1974 & 1976). The board envisioned to acquire and consolidate all eight premises forming the Ancorley block, to be developed as one. After acquiring all eight premises, redevelopment commenced by creating an arcade that connected Scott and Market streets.
Umbra Building (1974 & 1976). A new six-storey building was erected. The building consisted of shops, offices, apartments and a parkade.
Ucon Building (1975 & 1978). The existing building was demolished and a new building was erected.
Professional Centre Building (1976). The building was upgraded in 1991-1992 and again in 2018. The building was erected during 1963 and the shares within its holding company acquired during 1976.
Maanswyk (1979). An industrial building was developed with Metro Cash as tenant. Unfortunately the building was destroyed by a fire and subsequently the property was sold.
Ulomahof (1980). Ancorley, acting as a subsidiary of Usentra, purchased a young women’s hostel, then known as the Louise Malan hostel. It became part of the Ancorley Building, was renamed Ulomahof and was eventually modernized and upgraded in 2016.
Oranjesig (1981 & 1983). 13 Sectional title townhouses were built and sold over a period of ten years up to 1993.
Stilheuwels (1982 & 1987). Undeveloped land in Stilbaai, Western Cape, was purchased and 27 townhouses were built. During this time prime lending rates unexpectedly rose to 25% with unfortunate and painful repercussions. Six of the town houses were sold and three town houses were exchanged for a commercial property in Bloemfontein. The remaining townhouses were furnished and for 10 years managed as a timeshare resort.
JULY 1985 TO FEBRUARY 1998
Up to this time Usentra had been managed jointly by A.J. Myburgh and G.D. Le Roux. From July 1985 A.J. Myburgh became solely responsible for the management and administration of the company on a contract basis. Additionaly, strict management policies were put in place, the accounting and administration of the company were fully computerized and permanent staff for maintenance and supervision were appointed and trained.
From July 1985 to September 1989 the company battled for survival. Towards the end of this period, three of the unsold townhouses in Stilbaai had to be exchanged for a commercial building in Bloemfontein in order to obtain cash flow for Usentra. The remainder of the townhouses were sold from 1988 to 1998. During this time Usentra was restructured so that all its properties belonged to one of four subsidiaries and consequently twelve subsidiary companies were liquidated. The following properties were purchased and developed during this period:
Zantippe (1987). This commercial property in Bloemfontein was sold in 1993.
Ancorley Building (1989). The board realised that the development of the Ancorley Building would only be completely successful if the company acquired all the properties enclosed by Scott, River, Mark and Hill Streets and developed it as a whole. 47 Scott Street was purchased. Henceforth the ground floor was converted into shops and an additional first floor was built to create office space.
Uprau (1990). This property is located adjacent to the Orange River and within the central business district of Upington.
Upington Vloere (1990). The existing building was upgraded and expanded.
Industrial Plot 3746 (1993).
Ancorley Ulias Building (1992). The existing building was upgraded and expanded.
Ancorley Building (1994). Usentra purchased the last three premises in the area enclosed by Scott, River, Mark and Hill Streets and was finally able to redevelop the Ancorley Building in its entirety. The existing buildings, were redeveloped and expanded.
Ancorley Building, OK Building (1995). The existing building was upgraded and expanded.
Ancorley Building, New Arcade (1996). A new building was erected.
FEBRUARY 1999 to NOVEMBER 2007
This period was initiated by the termination of the timeshare scheme at Stilbaai and the sale of the eighteen townhouses that formed part of it. The following properties were purchased and developed during this period:
Taxi Plaza (2000). The Kalahari Butchery building and Upington Mark Street Investments building were demolished and then the combined plots were redeveloped into the Taxi Plaza.
Gordonia Building (2002). This building was purchased from Gordonia Development (Pty) Ltd.
Fisantekraal & Erf 3827, Stilbaai, Western Cape (2004). Usentra managed these smallholdings and residential developments together with partners in Stilbaai.
Ancorley Building (2006). A large part of the building was redeveloped.
An era in Usentra’s existence ended in November 2007 when Mr A.J. Myburgh passed away. With the benefit of his vision and insight, Usentra managed to develop large portions of Upington’s central business district for the benefit of its shareholders as well as Upington in general. He believed that Upington’s location on the banks of the Orange River, its unique climate and the corporate spirit and energy of its agricultural community would accomplish long-term growth for its economy. He was convinced that the extreme heat and sunshine of the region could be used to its advantage and he was eventually proven correct by the presence and creating of test facilities by European vehicle manufactures, solar energy plants, as well as the unprecedented growth of tourism in the region. Usentra continuously reinvested its profits in Upington as a result of A.J. Myburgh’s unwavering faith in the town and its people. His contribution to Usentra will always be a golden thread in the company’s existence.
FEBRUARY 2008 TO DATE
At this time, the board and executive management of Usentra set fresh goals for future growth. Business policies were established in line with the new goals. The computer system, supporting software and operating systems were updated. A special resolution was taken in March 2009 to buy back shares and eventually 83,800 shares were bought back from shareholders.
In 2011, Usentra was converted from a public to a private company and a new Memorandum of Incorporation was accepted. In August 2015 another special resolution was taken to buy back even more shares and 130,028 shares were bought back from shareholders.
The following properties were purchased and redeveloped during this period: Gordonia Building (2008). A new building was developed adjoining the existing building.
Oranjezicht Building (2009). The building was purchased from Kumani Investments 120 (Pty) Ltd. Shoprite Building (2009). The building was purchased from Sanlam Properties
by public auction. Plot 2114/Rabkin Building. This premises was purchased in Upington for future development. In 2017, the Rabkin buildings were demolished and a new building (containing a retail shop and parcade) was developed. Plots 6050, 6135, and 6175 (2012). Four bedroom houses were erected on each of these plots in the Kalahari Golf Estate Kathu. Plot 14276 (2012-2014). The Updustria Industrial Park was developed on this premises.
Plot 13758, Stellenbosch, Western Cape (2015). The Stone Square Centre was acquired.
Plot 2115 (2018). The Oranjezicht building is currently being redeveloped and the flats in this buiding are being upgraded. In addition, a luxurious, three bedroom penthouse is being constructed on the roof of the building which will be offered by way of Airbnb.
The Oranjezicht building underwent major renovations and maintenance to cater for current property demands. The existing flats in this building was upgraded and in addition, a luxurious, three bedroom penthouse was developed on the roof of the building which will be offered as guest accommodation / Airbnb, together with suite 401 and 402.
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