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Sandton skyscraper: More exciting plans for the R3bn Leonardo

Africa’s tallest building will have a deck offering 360 degree views of Joburg as one of its key tourist attractions.
The Legacy Group has even bigger plans for the 55-storey Leonardo, Sandton's first official skyscraper. Image: Moneyweb

The 234-metre Leonardo skyscraper in Sandton is almost complete, and developers have even greater plans for the R3 billion mixed-use development and surrounding area.

Ambitious plans are being hatched for its opening and to entrench it as a major tourist attraction in SA and the continent. This follows Moneyweb breaking the news in January that The Leonardo will overtake the Carlton Centre in Joburg’s CBD as Africa’s tallest building (by about 10 metres).

Read: Sandton’s R3bn Leonardo will be Africa’s tallest skyscraper

While a large part of The Leonardo development led by The Legacy Group and backed by Nedbank will open in November, other key attractions such as a viewing deck and the ‘Sky Bar’ atop the building will be opened as part of future phases.

Executives at Legacy say most of the apartments as well as other facilities – including restaurants, a spa, pool deck, gym, office suites, conference facilities, a children’s creche and some retail outlets – will be open by November. However, the six-star hotel with 140 rooms, the viewing deck and cocktail bar with 360 degree views of the city, and a piazza at the back of the building will be completed and opened over time.


Moneyweb understands that the piazza plan is yet to be finalised and is a longer-term project, but the Legacy Group has secured the property at the back of The Leonardo – No 5 Protea Place, which currently houses offices and retail space – as a “defensive move”.

The Leonardo, which faces Maude Street and is a stone’s throw from the JSE, is also close to other Legacy Group developments such as Nelson Mandela Square and Michelangelo Tower.

Legacy Group chairman Bart Dorrestein was loath to comment on the piazza plans to Moneyweb on Friday, saying the focus is currently on completing the Leonardo building. He initially envisaged that the building would be completed in the first half of this year.

Bart Dorrestein, founder and chairman of The Legacy Group. Image: Moneyweb

“We have future plans for the neighbouring site that will add to the leisure and lifestyle offering at The Leonardo, but it is early days,” he says. “The Leonardo is currently our priority. However, we bought the neighbouring site as a defensive move to ensure there is no big development in front of it.”

Read: Exclusive: Growthpoint’s ambitious Sandton Summit plan

Legacy Hotels & Resorts marketing director Robert Hodson says around 220 of the 240 apartments at The Leonardo have been sold. The building’s eight penthouses and iconic 3 000m2, three-floor Leonardo Suite have now been put on the market.

“Many of the buyers of the apartments are investors,” he says, adding that the apartments will go into a rental pool managed by Legacy Hotels & Resorts for short or long-stay accommodation, which is popular in Sandton as SA’s financial hub. “We are holding back on launching the actual hotel component, which is likely to open in 2021,” Hodson tells Moneyweb.

He says prices have averaged around R65 000 per square metre at The Leonardo, with entry-level apartments sold at around R4.5 million. Penthouses average around R80 000/m2, while the uber luxurious Leonardo Suite is anticipated to fetch a cool R250 million.

Robert Hodson, marketing director at Legacy Hotels & Resorts, on the viewing deck atop the 55-storey Leonardo Tower in Sandton. Image: Moneyweb

“Set over three floors and covering 3 000m², the Leonardo Suite will be the most sought-after penthouse suite in Africa,” he adds. “It offers 360 degree views of Sandton and Joburg. In fact, on a clear day you can see as far at the Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria and planes taking off at OR Tambo International Airport.”

The suite boasts a cinema room, 1 100m² of garden area, a rim-flow pool, four bedrooms and a dedicated lift that goes from the ground floor up to the 55th floor in 57 seconds.

If it does fetch R250 million, the Leonardo Suite is set to become the most expensive sectional title property sold in SA.

Legendary hotel magnate Sol Kerzner’s One&Only development at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront, where a penthouse was sold for around R110 million in 2008, currently holds the title.

Coincidentally, Dorrestein worked with Kerzner on the development of Sun City in the 1970s and is today one of SA’s leading property developers in the hospitality industry. The Legacy Group is one of the biggest property owners in Sandton and operates hotels across Africa.

Dorrestein tells Moneyweb he has identified a buyer for the Leonardo Suite, but cannot mention who it is. “Naturally, even when we sell the suite, I won’t be able to mention the buyer. However, it is not a done deal until the money is in the bank,” he says.

A ‘beacon of hope’

“The Leonardo is a labour of love for me and all the people involved. It stands as a beacon of hope for SA, coming to market in a really difficult time for the economy. It’s a major investment and is testament to our belief in SA’s future.”

Elaine Jack of the Sandton Central Management District says The Leonardo development is strong sign of investor confidence in the area despite the tough economy.

Read: Office vacancies a ‘big risk’ for listed property

“As SA’s financial capital, Sandton Central continues to attract investment and new real estate developments from businesses who want to be in the area,” she notes. “In fact, research from the South African Property Owners Association for the first quarter of 2019 shows that Sandton is home to most new development in SA. More than 26% of the country’s new office space is under development in Sandton.”



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Oh good, glad they’re doing the deck view. It was a good tourist thing for carlton so should be here too.

Was just about to ask, how dumb are these tourists that they choose Sandton to tour.

What is business tourism and why is it so important? Why do cities fight to have the best conference centres? What is tourism from the rest of Africa (rich people looking for stuff to buy)?

If you are this myopic and ill informed, rather keep quiet.

Why call it The Leonardo…in Africa?

because they’ve built the Raphael and Michaelangelo already. Only the Donatello remains, then the ninja turtle circle is complete.

After the Donatello, can we look forward to the Splinter and the April?

Your take away from an article on a R3bn building is its name? Really?

This reminds me of the situation in Russia just before the 1916 revolution. Czar lived in a bubble of excess ignorant to the issues facing the population.

In a country where the “unofficial” unemployment rate for youth is easily near 50%, how can this development be justified?

Again this plays into the hands of the Red Radicals because it proves their point.

I think financial journalists, analysts and accountants should take history as course in college since only focusing on numbers makes one naive to the world. BTW, I am an accountant myself who is also schooled in history.

Being ignorant of world history leads to disaster…

Stop being a Realist and follow the “African Dream” … cue drumming and chorus with gumboot dancers …


Big building in JHB with a restaurant on the roof! Can’t wait to book into the hotel and stare at the expanse of concrete and distant shack towns through the pollution haze!

It’s a must go-to on your bucket list! Sigh .. how desperate.

Only a South African’t could moan simultaneously about a lack of nice things and a nice thing. In the same sentence. How sad your braais must be. What a broken and defeated people you are. Absolutely determined to be miserable victims.

Quite the contrary … we’re not as naive as the rest of the world … it’s amazing how an armed robbery can focus the mind.

Strange way to justify your finding a way to moan about things either way. What a broken pathetic bunch of losers.

Bet you would find a way to moan about not been armed robbed too.

Boets, I am sooo poor I can’t even get attention from the robbers.

Sandton keeps confirming the old adage that money can’t buy you taste.

End of comments.





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