It was not long ago that blue-chip corporates relocated their headquarters from downtown Johannesburg to the swanky northern suburbs of Sandton and Fourways – sparking the largest exodus in the history of the city of gold.
Yet this also birthed opportunities for developers to convert historic old buildings to urban dwellings.
Braamfontein, which is on the quieter fringes of the CBD, has proved to be a popular node with many successful residential developments and retail spaces.
The charm, historic value and craftsmanship of a bygone era offer a valuable canvas to begin creating trendy living spaces.
As Sandton and surrounding neighbourhoods are increasingly becoming overdeveloped, property developers are returning to downtown Johannesburg in a massive effort to regenerate the city.
One such developer is Enate Properties, represented by David Nijland, who is spearheading a project called Braamfontein Lifestyle Living Precinct.
It’s located on the fringes of Braamfontein just off Solomon Street, overlooking the Enoch Sontonga Memorial Park and adjacent to Wits University.
The master plan for the more than R250 million development is to convert and repurpose the site that once housed the original Johannesburg Post Office building (later occupied by Telkom) into 350 industrial loft-style apartments.
Braamfontein Lifestyle Living Precinct has three unique offerings: The Exchange, Network Lofts and Braamfontein Lofts.
The commonly-used adage of “location, location, location” in the property sector resonates with this development as it offers convenient access to Johannesburg’s live, work, study and play nodes.
At a time when property developers are choosing Rosebank and Sandton as preferred locations to deliver luxury high-rise apartments, the big question is why Braamfontein has piqued the interest of numerous property developers?
“Rosebank and Sandton do not offer the charm and appeal that these old buildings do, with their solid timber beams, exposed trusses and enormous industrial windowpanes,” Nijland noted.
“The existing buildings lend themselves perfectly to urban loft living with the New York-style look, in a structure that simply cannot be replicated in today’s times.”
The first phase (The Exchange) offers 128 studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments spanning 50 to 134 square metres in size.
Apartment prices range from R695 000 for a studio unit, R975 000 for a one-bedroom unit, and R1.3 million for a two-bedroom unit. These valuations translate to an average price of R11 000 per square metre plus VAT – well below the R20 000 to R35 000 that newly-launched upmarket apartment schemes in Rosebank and Sandton are fetching.
The Exchange is geared to a full spectrum of potential buyers and tenants including corporate professionals, young families or university students, said Nijland.
Nijland said the apartment development is highly attractive to property investors seeking favourable returns. Rentals are expected to fetch between R6 000 and R6 500 for a studio unit, R7 000 for a one-bedroom apartment and R9 500 and R12 000 for a two-bedroom apartment. The investment is further enhanced by Urban Development Zone tax incentives and rates rebates.
Potential buyers or tenants will be offered on-site parking for residents and their guests, a fibre and DStv connection, an on-site caretaker, and security system with 24-hour surveillance and access control.
Unique to the development is the incorporation of a green belt – the largest of its kind in the inner city area. This recreational space spans over a hectare and will be for the exclusive use of the residents and will be accessed directly from the development.
The apartment building is a stone’s throw away from the rejuvenated neighbourhood of 44 Stanley, within walking distance to the University of Johannesburg and Wits University. It can be accessed through arterial routes, mainly the M1 highway, and is also in proximity to transport systems including the Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit System (BRT) and the Gautrain.
The Exchange falls within the road network of the Corridors of Freedom, forming part of the City of Johannesburg’s 2040 spatial and urban renewal development framework.
This framework, which was implemented in 2012, uses the Rea Vaya BRT and other mass transit systems to link areas on the outskirts to economic nodes, so Joburgers can reduce their time of travel from home to their workplaces.
Phase one of the project (The Exchange) is expected to be completed by the end of the year. Occupation is expected to be in March 2018. The other two phases, Network Lofts, and Braamfontein Lofts, are expected to be completed in June 2018 and the end of 2019 respectively.
Brought to you by Enate Properties.