Sandton CBD continues to thrive: A positive bet on the economy

Ujuh Reporter

South Africa’s financial capital, Sandton Central, continues to rake in massive property development investments, in what tells an intriguing story of confidence on the new central business district (CBD) and by default a positive bet on the future of the South African economy.

A new report shows Sandton remains the epicentre of office development in the country. The latest research from the South African Property Owners Association Office (SAPOA) Vacancy Survey fourth quarter of 2017 shows that 31% of South Africa’s new office developments are going up in Sandton.

This is in addition to several major developments that came on stream in Sandton Central during in the past few years.

This may come across as counter intuitive when viewed against the negativity which engulfed South Africa over the past 8 years or so of Jacob Zuma’s government. A heavy dose of toxic leadership left many, especially investors unsure about South Africa’s economic and political stability. Markets became highly jittery as the country’s credit rating slipped towards junk status.

And so it would seem property developers have been leaving in another world. It could also be that the Sandton Central trends are an exception. And there is also the fact that property investment is a long term game which focuses more on long term fundamentals and less on short term sentiments.

There is also the fact that Sandton Central is able to attract the billions of Rands being invested in these new developments because it offers a well-managed environment to support the growing district.  Sandton Central Management District (SCMD) manages the public urban spaces of South Africa’s cosmopolitan financial hub.

Elaine Jack, City Improvement District Manager of SCMD, says “Sandton Central has firmly established itself as a leading business district and in 2018 it remains the centre of new office development in South Africa. Many of its new and recently completed developments are among the most interesting, innovative and sustainable new buildings on the continent. It is exhilarating to see Sandton Central growing and improving with such confidence.”

New hero developments going ahead in Sandton Central are expected to come on stream in 2018 and beyond. All are planned to enhance the quality of life in Sandton Central.

  • The 25,000sqm The Capital on the Park at 101 Katherine Street is being developed by The Capital Hotels and Apartments. It comprises 4,000sqm of conference and hotel facilities, 21,000sqm of rooms and apartments. Serving the growing demand from people who want to live in Sandton Central to benefit from the ultimate integrated lifestyle, it will offer 300 superbly appointed hotel rooms, one and two bedroomed apartments, as well as penthouse suites. Now nearing completion, the development will be finalised on 1 April 2018.
  • With its ultra-prime location, once completed in the second quarter of 2018, 92 Rivonia Road will include facilities for showrooms, workshops, retail, conferencing, entertainment, flexible office, and ample parking in two separate lots, one underground and one above. This integrated, pedestrian-friendly property is targeting a GBCSA 4 Star SA rating.
  • The Legacy Group’s next exciting project, Leonardo, at 75 Maude Street is set to open by the end of the year. The 40,000sqm mixed-use development includes 1,500sqm retail, 12,000sqm offices and 25,000sqm residential, and will rise 150 metres above Sandton’s skyline to take the best advantage of an ideal Sandton Central location.
  • Rising rapidly, 129 Rivonia Road mixed-use development by Eris Property Group comprises two high-rise towers – a 12-storey office tower and a 17-storey office tower, with combined office space of 62,000sqm. Below the two office towers are two levels of retail space spanning some 15,000sqm with a seven-level parking basement of around 100,000sqm to service the precinct. While the entire project is planned for completion in early 2019, some 10,000sqm of office space is already available.
  • Redefine Properties have already begun their new office development, Advocates at 2 Pybus Road. Its location along the intersection of Pybus and Rivonia Roads puts the development strategically near some of the country’s biggest blue-chip tenants, as well as near transport links like the Sandton Gautrain station and bus network. The nine-storey building will cover an area of 13,500 sqm and is scheduled for completion in April 2019.
  • The development of Katherine Towers, located at 46 Katherine Street in Wierda Valley, between the Sasol and Discovery head offices in the new Katherine Street mixed-use precinct, is a 21,000sqm P-grade development by Alchemy. It will become the new head office for Bidvest Bank. The development also features an additional 12,600sqm of flexible, efficient P-grade office space for prospective tenants. The 18-level building will offer expansive views from its prominent position. Katherine Towers’ expected completion is in the second quarter of 2019.
  • Northern Lights, at the intersection of Fredman Drive and Rivonia Road between the Maslow Hotel and the Hilton Hotel, is expected to begin construction before mid-year. Developed by FWJK Developments, the skyline-changing 70,000sqm development will offer P-grade sectional title offices in four 38-level towers in the heart of Sandton Central’s banking node. The development includes service and road upgrades with a six-lane extension of Fredman Drive constructed as part of the new mid-block road due to join Grayston Drive. Its two top floors will offer residential penthouse suites.
  • Kgoro Central is the sizeable 200,000sqm mixed-use art precinct being developed around a public square situated above the Sandton Gautrain Station. Developers Regiments Real Estate report that the development is being rolled out for final completion in 2024. The first retail phase at Kgoro Central is open for business, with several street-level shops operating on the Gautrain station periphery.

New developments that have come on stream recently include the largest single phase commercial office development in Africa, the 110,000sqm Discovery global headquarters; the 30,000sqm new Old Mutual Emerging Markets headquarters; the 218-room chic urban three-plus star Signature Lux Hotel; the iconic double towers at 140 West Street, which has become the new home of Hogan Lovells; the 19-storey-high final phase of the mixed-use Alice Lane development anchored by Bowmans Law; and the first development at The Central comprising a 14-storey  office building with Werksmans Attorneys occupying eight floors; among  other stand-out buildings.

The Sandton Central node entered high growth phase about 20 years ago as part of the decentralisation that saw an exodus to the north from the Johannesburg CBD. Its matured into a CBD itself over the years by evolving from being a place to work towards well round city that provides a live, work and play environment.

news@ujuh.co.za

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