Joburg : Gautrain Station Hubs Energise Office Development

Towering cranes around future Gautrain stations mark the property sector's confidence

Areas located directly around future Gautrain stations are attracting great interest when it comes to property development, especially speculative offices, retail and mixed-use property developments.

Fran Teagle, Broll Property Group's Director of Commercial Broking for Gauteng, points out that the speculative development taking place in these locations shows confidence in Gauteng's future by the property sector and symbolises the important role that the Gautrain stations are expected to play in our society.

"As public transport hubs, these locations are ideal for staff intensive businesses and many property developers are creating buildings with large floor plates to accommodate cleverly designed open plan offices which provide working spaces at 10sqm to 15sqm per person," says Teagle. This is much more compact than the previous norm of about 20sqm per person.

Usually this would put pressure on the parking that building owners need to provide, but Teagle notes that as Gautrain stations will create public transport exchanges, the onerous need for extensive parking is alleviated.

In close proximity to the new Rosebank Gautrain Station, The Firs is being redeveloped and expanded by Investec Property. Tiber's beautiful new AAA grade office tower set to be complete mid 2010, will also contribute to creating landmarks for the area as well a number of older properties which have been owned for years by Old Mutual.

There are a number of office blocks planned to go up around the site of the future Sandton Gautrain Station, with some already under construction. In addition, superbly located to the Gautrain station, Sandton City is forging ahead with its repositioning for which the first phase of the expansion and redevelopment is pegged at some R1,77 billion.

Furthermore, it seems that electricity constraints have been prioritised, with council having provided supply to a number of new developments in the area.

"This has been a constraint, especially in Midrand where a number of developments are earmarked around the new Gautrain station that will serve this area, but progress is finally being made," says Teagle.

East of Johannesburg in Ekhuruleni, which will feature both the Airport and Rhodesfield Gautrain Stations, development activity is already picking up in the established business nodes of Jet Park and Isando, as well as the emerging area of Pomona in Kempton Park. In addition to the Gautrain stations, these areas are superbly served with good highway access, as well as railway and shuttle services.

Around the OR Thambo Airport there is already 40,000sqm committed for development, both turnkey and speculative. Alongside the Rhodesfield Gautrain station site, development plans are afoot for 80 000m² of hotel, offices and retail which will link into the station and across to the airport.

In Tshwane, Centurion is also blossoming around the site of the future Gautrain station, with plenty of development activity already underway.

Teagle believes that those who are embracing the opportunities that the Gautrain stations promise, will be in the pound seats.

"Those who are taking the opportunity and developing now are not undertaking wild speculative development but rather taking a clever risk. The Gautrain is going to have a massive impact on how we live, work, shop and travel and, as with any new real opportunity, those developers who have taken the initiative first, stand the best chance of enjoying the benefits."

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