Southdowns Estate launches final phase

The estate has enjoyed considerable success since the launch of its first phase in 2004 and is arguably one of the few mixed-use lifestyle estate developments in South Africa which has proved viable since inception.

Southdowns occupies land which originally formed part of the neighbouring 115 year old Irene Dairy Farm. The farm brokered a deal with Centurus Properties (the developers behind Southdowns) when it became clear that its viability as a small, stand-alone dairy was under threat from modern mass dairy farming. As per the deal, approximately 200ha of the farm was allocated to Southdowns Estate and 110ha was set aside for the dairy farm.

Jack Prentice, Southdown’s Director says the estate’s success can largely be attributed to the fact that it managed to strike the perfect balance between old and new.

Says Prentice: “Far from being a peripheral element, the farm forms an integral part of the estate with 50 of the dairy’s 110 hectares incorporated into the residential area. Cows are regularly seen grazing around the estate’s properties and the majority of the original farm buildings and oak trees have been preserved. A charming farm shop and restaurant aptly named ‘The Barn’ and ‘The Deck’ respectively have also been established where visitors and residents alike can buy the dairy’s products or enjoy sumptuous meals.”

Roughly 700 land parcels were earmarked for the estate at the outset. Of these, 381 were made available under the first phase at prices ranging from R600 000 to R2m for freehold plots measuring between 980 and 3000sqm’s. These sold out within days of being put on the market. According to Prentice, some buyers even camped outside the estate prior to the launch of the first phase to secure the plots they wanted.

A number of Sectional Title properties entitled ‘The Lofts’ were also constructed under the first phase. These measure between 126 and 280sqm’s and typically include two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a gas braai and under-floor heating. High end finishes come standard and some include pools.

The average freehold home now sells for around R4.6m; the highest freehold price achieved currently stands at R8.2m. Prentice remarks that the Sectional Title properties have proved particularly popular from a rental standpoint and lease for between R9 000 and R17 000pm. These properties can also be bought at prices starting from R1.5m.

According to Prentice, Southdowns’ architectural style can loosely be described as following contemporary highveld farm style lines. Freehold property owners can interpret their homes according to estate guidelines. Red and grey roofs, earth tones, broken rooflines and rectangular forms are some of the design elements which feature strongly throughout the estate.

In addition to its very own dairy farm, Southdowns Estate has its own independent, private college that offers comprehensive academic, sports and boarding facilities. Environmental education and visual and performing arts rank high on the college’s curriculum. The college has proven highly popular and has over 1 200 students registered for 2012.

Southdowns also plays host to the Open Window School of Visual Communication which offers high-tech production studios, computer labs, creative studios, a research centre, spacious lecturing halls, a fully equipped gym and cafeteria. Over 500 students currently attend the school.

Also included within Southdown’s educational node is a fully equipped theatre. While Southdowns College students use this venue on a regular basis, it also doubles as an events and conference venue and can host up to 1000 guests.

Additionally, Southdowns offers 13km’s of walking/ hiking/ cycling/ golf cart trails which weave their way through the estate. The estate also boasts play parks and residents enjoy direct access to the Southdowns Fitness Centre and Irene Country Club where they are entitled to play tennis, golf squash, bowls and cricket.

The Irene Lodge, ‘Cam De Boo’ Spa and Southdowns Shopping Centre also lie but a stone’s throw away. Other facilities include an on-site office node which is currently under construction and storage facilities which will be built in the second phase.

Prentice points out that residents now also benefit from a Gautrain depot which was recently established just outside the estate. Users can reach the Centurion Gautrain station within six minutes via the depot.

Other Southdowns ‘value-adds’ include a natural gas pipeline which allows residents to sidestep escalating electricity tariffs, a fibre optic backbone, state-of-the-art security protocols and an internal water management system.

“Where possible, Southdowns tries to adopt environmentally friendly practices,” adds Prentice. “Pockets of land have been left deliberately untouched to preserve the local fauna and flora. In a bid to further facilitate the estate’s ‘green’ credentials, over 6000 indigenous trees and grasses have also been planted and a recycling service has been established.”

Approximately 120 freehold plots will be made available under the final phase alongside 120 upmarket Sectional Title units and 70 cluster opportunities. Initially, 73 stands measuring between 750 and 1 300sqm’s will be marketed at prices ranging from R1m to R2, 7m.  

Concludes Prentice: “We are exceptionally proud of what we have achieved at Southdowns and believe that the R1.6bn which has been invested into the estate to date is a worthwhile investment. We have more than weathered the property storm which has battered the local and global property market over the past few years and believe that we are well on the way to becoming one of Johannesburg’s premier residential estates.”

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