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FOURWAYS / MONTECASINO NODE A KEY DEVELOPMENT AREA, SAYS JHI

Strategically well positioned within easy reach of the N1, a key route connecting Johannesburg and Pretoria, the Fourways / Montecasino development node is increasingly in demand among those in the commercial property sector, says Anne Bier, sales and leasing consultant for JHI.
 
"Considered Johannesburg's top entertainment precinct and bordered by appealing residential areas, the Montecasino and Fourways node is experiencing ongoing growth, which includes two new office developments and two new hotels," says Bier.
 
At LongPoint, a green star rated commercial development with high exposure on the corner of Montecasino Boulevard, Bier reports a growing number of enquiries and has just concluded a substantial lease for 600sqm of office space taken up by an international company - drawn by the appeal of the numerous shopping and entertainment facilities in the area as well as the new on-site City Lodge, convenient for use by their overseas-based principals.
 
The four-floor, office component of this development is nearing completion, comprising a total gross lettable area of 4532sqm and catering for both smaller users of 100-1000sqm as well as larger users of 2000-4000sqm. The ground floor incorporates 1010sqm of upmarket retail space including a restaurant, coffee shop and businesses, while the 211 room hotel includes two boardrooms, fitness centre, breakfast restaurant, internet café and sundowner bar and pooldeck. The retail space at LongPoint is fully let while approximately 75 percent of the office component is available at rental rates in the region of R125 per square metre.
 
Comments LongPoint developer/owner Richard Currie of the Currie Group: "The Fourways Node or 'New North' as it is colloquially referred to is rapidly becoming an attractive location for major companies for whom there is considerable appeal. They believe by being situated in or relocating to this area, just north of the N1 highway, their businesses will enjoy major improvements in efficiency as many of their staff live in the vicinity. Added to this is the possibility of a mass transit system, and discussions have included a monorail system."
 
Currie adds that there is also a new dynamic in the property market. Previously, property developers generally did not have to contend with time consuming power or town planning delays. In the current environment, however, the supply of such new development projects is slowed due to delays which ultimately impact on prices, due to constraints such as lack of power, water, delays in obtaining township proclamation, and so on.
 
Despite these challenges, says Bier, the Currie Group has made a significant investment in the planning of future development of the adjacent tract of land, Longmeadow Farm. "This project will be demand driven and approved plans are in place for a mixed use development – reflecting a fast growing trend in the area, with the concept of 'live, work and play' in one environment expected to feature strongly in new developments in the Fourways node in the future," she says.
 
A further new project in the Montecasino precinct and set for completion in May this year (2010) is The Pivot hotel and office park development, which has a gross lettable area of approximately 13 500 square metres. The letting of office space is progressing well and JHI is marketing rentals at R126 per square metre, with negotiations currently under way with a London-based company requiring space, and a lease being concluded on behalf of Voila Travel, who will occupy prominent space in the retail area of The Pivot, directly opposite the hotel. Says Bier: “This ideal position will enable the travel agency to offer hotel guests convenient and efficient, on-site service.”
 
Conceived as a walled Tuscan village, and incorporating contemporary design elements within an architectural theme portraying old world tradition, prestigious The Pivot is being developed in response to the demand for third hotel in the Montecasino vicinity and the success of the Palazzo Tower Offices. It includes a 4-Star, 194-room Southern Sun hotel.
 
And along Cedar Road, a major route from Fourways to Lanseria and Pretoria, a new sectional title office development, Willow Wood Office Park, is also due for completion in 2010.
 
Comments John Whall, director of Montagu Property Group: "Over the past few years Fourways has experienced tremendous growth with the development of residential properties, shopping centres and hospitals making the development of offices the next logical step. Local residents can now work where the live and this will help relieve congestion on the roads, reducing rush hour traffic to those en route to the more traditional offices south of the N1 highway.
 
"With easy access from Cedar Road, Willow Wood is also well located to cater for office workers living in Pretoria, while the ongoing upgrading of Lanseria Airport means that Fourways is very convenient for domestic travellers. With ever increasing flights from Lanseria to the rest of Africa, we see the popularity of Fourways as a business hub as a growing trend, particularly as there is substantial future growth planned for the area right through to the airport. As a result the Fourways node will always be strategically well situated within Gauteng," says Whall.
 
Bier is marketing office accommodation at Willow Wood, which comprises a total of 6816sqm in four blocks – each providing for office suites ranging between 150 and 280sqm and priced at R13 900 per square metre. This development aims to confirm to the new Green Star Certified Rating Category of Best Practice introduced by the Green Buildings Council of South Africa. Coupled with this 85 percent of the office park is dedicated to landscaping and creating a pleasant park-like environment for small to medium businesses.
 
Issued by Gaye de Villiers


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