Some R2 billion in new property investment – including high-rise residential towers, a new hotel and office blocks – is on the cards for a new higher density mixed-use precinct within JSE-listed Attacq Limited’s burgeoning Waterfall City mega development in Gauteng.
The precinct is directly adjacent to the 131 000 m2 Mall of Africa. Attacq, master developer and owner of Waterfall City, has partnered with two Johannesburg-based private developers, Tricolt and Barrow Properties, on two separate developments totalling R2 billion within this new precinct.
Attacq revealed details of the first high-rise luxury apartment development at Waterfall City on Monday, saying the R1.2 billion project with Tricolt would include 590 apartments within four residential towers. The first phase of the development, dubbed Ellipse Waterfall, is set to be complete by 2021.
Melt Hamman, newly appointed Attacq CEO, told Moneyweb in a recent interview that as well as the high-rise residential development at Waterfall, the group has plans for a separate mixed-use office and hotel development, called The Atria.
“This development [Ellipse] heralds the first high-density residential development within Waterfall and is Attacq’s first-ever residential property scheme. While the rest of the broader Waterfall node has a mix of standalone homes, complexes and medium density residential, Attacq has the development rights for higher density residential towers going beyond 10 floors within Waterfall City, which immediately surrounds the Mall of Africa,” he said.
Attacq’s head of development, Giles Pendleton, adds: “The expansion into the residential space was both strategic and necessary, which is why we entered into a joint venture with industry leaders, Tricolt.”
Meanwhile, speaking to Moneyweb about The Atria joint venture development with Barrow Properties, Hamman says construction has already begun on a super-basement for the R750 million mixed-use project. This development is on a two hectare site and will include a high-rise four-star hotel and P-grade (prime grade) office blocks.
“A crane is already on site and we’ve begun initial construction. The Atria is a 33 150 m2 development that will include four office buildings and a new 10-floor hotel,” he says.
“The development cost of this project is around R750 million. Plans for the hotel are being finalised and we want it to be an upmarket four-star establishment with around 180 rooms.”
Original plans for The Atria development included a residential tower, but Hamman said Attacq and Barrow opted to go for just the hotel and commercial office buildings for the project. The neighbouring 1.8 hectare site has been earmarked for high-rise residential development as part of the separate R1.2 billion Ellipse Waterfall project with Tricolt.
Negotiations with hotel operators
Hamman and Paul Barrow, property development and investment director at Barrow Properties, were both loath to comment on which hotel operators they were talking to for the new hotel at Waterfall City. They say negotiations with major local and international hotel brands are underway, and they expect the hotel to open by 2021.
“We are exploring all options and once a hotel operator is signed, we will finalise the design,” says Hamman. “While our preference is to lease the hotel, we could develop to sell it. The new hotel within The Atria development will be our second hotel at Waterfall City, following the City Lodge Hotel that opened a few years ago. Attacq plans to have around four major hotels at Waterfall City once the overall development is complete.”
Joop Demes, a hotel industry expert and CEO of Platinum Gold Hospitality, says that while Waterfall is a growing area, the Johannesburg hotel market has seen lower occupancies in the past year due to poor SA economic conditions.
“Right now is not the best time to open a new hotel in Joburg due to lower occupancies,” he says. “However, I suppose by 2021, market conditions could be different. The developers of the hotel need to secure a well-known brand, whether it’s local or international. Brands that could work in Waterfall include Southern Sun, Marriott, Hilton, Radisson, Sun International, The Capital Hotels and even aha. French-based AccorHotels is also looking to expand in Joburg, with its Novotel brand, so there are several options for Attacq.”