New Modderfontein estate sets the trend

People in the middle- to higher- income brackets are tending to retire earlier, and this, along with increased life expectancies, and an increasingly aging population in these income groups, is contributing to a shortage of quality retirement accommodation in Johannesburg, according to Dr Andrew Golding, chief executive of the Pam Golding Properties group.

An artist’s impression of simplex units at Heritage Estate in Modderfontein, Johannesburg.

He says the nature of retirement property is also changing – more people want a property in a secure estate, which gives them a pleasant lifestyle and maximum independence. They also want properties that provide them and their families with meaningful investments.

Catering for these requirements, Norym Properties is developing a substantial new estate for older residents in Modderfontein, Johannesburg. Heritage Estate is near Modderfontein Nature Reserve in eastern Johannesburg, and Pam Golding Properties is the marketing agency.

Heritage Estate consists of 162 sectional title units, which are being sold in phases for delivery from mid-2016.

“This multi-million rand project involves the redevelopment of a historic site,” says Golding. “Properties include penthouses, simplex units and a variety of different size apartments. Private doctors’ rooms and assisted home based care will also be available to residents who may require these services.”

The 28 simplex units in the first phase of construction are scheduled to be ready for occupation by June. They are available in 140m2 and 180m2 sizes, and two show units can be viewed on site.

“The estate moves away from the life rights retirement model to sectional title ownership. Many retired people recognise the long-term value of this model and prefer being able to own their retirement property in a sectional title arrangement. Some investors are buying properties in Heritage Estate with a view to renting them out until they are ready to take occupation.”

Heritage House was developed by the Chamber of Mines’ as a sanatorium and was opened in 1911. A billiard room and a bowling green were later added for the entertainment of recovering patients. The Pavilion was added as a concert hall in 1925 and this is now being refurbished for use as a clubhouse for Heritage Estate residents. In July 1980, Heritage House was put to use as a rehabilitation centre by the Chamber of Mines and was then sold to be developed as an educational facility. Parts of the movie Hotel Rwanda were filmed on location here in 2004.

David Coutinho of Cymad Property Group, a franchise of Pam Golding Franchise Services, says the Modderfontein area is undergoing such rapid commercial and residential development that it is becoming an important new growth hub in the greater Johannesburg area. A massive R84 billion New York of Africa development, which includes a financial hub, an education centre, a hospital and a medical centre as well as a sports stadium, has recently been mooted for the area.

“Heritage Estate is on the main routes to OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg city centre, Sandton and Pretoria and has easy access to the Gautrain. In addition, Greenstone Mall is just minutes away,” says Coutinho.

“The development of Heritage Estate is well under way, with the Firs, which consists of the simplex units and two cottages that are heritage buildings, under construction. Residents will be able to take occupation by June. Heritage House, the old sanatorium, is being refurbished to its original condition, in accordance and under the guidance of the Provincial Heritage Resources Authority Gauteng.

“The developers are committed to restoring and refurbishing Heritage House and surrounding historic buildings to their original condition. Guided by the heritage association, the architects have aimed to restore the character of Heritage Estate, while opening up the development to light and creating attractive living spaces for residents.”

The government donated a 9ha piece of land near the Modderfontein Dynamite Factory, and the Chamber of Mines erected the sanatorium. The certificate of incorporation was signed by the Colonial Secretary of the time, Jan Smuts, who later became Prime Minister of South Africa.

Some interesting people were treated at the sanatorium including the Austrian artist Hans (Jean) Max Friedrich Welz, who was diagnosed with tuberculosis in 1939, and admitted to the facility. During his time at the facility, Welz began a number of sketches of the surrounding Highveld.

According to Coutinho, residents at the estate will be encouraged to plant indigenous plants that will fit in with the communal gardens, as well as with the existing heritage trees, the Wild Olives, and indigenous flowers and grasses on the property.

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