JOHANNESBURG – When Steyn City first launched in 2015, developers Douw Steyn and Giuseppe Plumari promised residents a city like no other.
Now, as they reveal their Vision 2020, it’s clear that this promise has been brought to fruition.
“We’ve been busy creating the very best lifestyle in the world,” says Giuseppe Plumari, CEO of Steyn City Properties.
He adds that the company’s commitment represents far more than a desire to provide an incomparable home for residents; rather, it’s about heeding the call of South Africa’s leaders, and investing in the future of the country.
It’s a significant investment indeed.
“When Steyn City was first introduced to the market, we invested R6,5 billion in infrastructure to ensure that all facilities and amenities were in place by the time purchasers took up residence. Our investment also went to supporting infrastructure for the greater region, including roads, water and sewerage. This was important to us, because we wanted to show investors what they were buying into, rather than making empty promises. We also told the marketplace that we would be ready to invest a further R5,5 billion at a later date – and that’s precisely what we’re doing.”
This latest investment is the seed of the City Centre; the gem in the Steyn City crown which is now nearing completion, with the first 220 units comprising Phase I ready to be launched next year.
With a total of over 700 apartments and 11 penthouses, this unique and prestigious development boasts a number of facilities so far unseen in South Africa, including a heliport and lagoon.
It’s a highly anticipated addition to a destination which has already become known as a leader and trendsetter.
This is evidenced by the increase in property values, even at a time when high end properties have seen negative growth in a flat market (although industry leaders indicate that they are seeing the start of a recovery). “Buyers who purchased at launch date have already seen their land value appreciate by 15-18%,” says Lambert Bezuidenhout, Steyn City Sales Manager.
He cites the example of one stand which was purchased for R2,85 million, and which recently sold for R3,9 million.
One of the reasons Steyn City remains in high demand (with 1 098 people making it home since 2015) is because of the lifestyle resort’s considerable investment in security, coupled with an unprecedented lifestyle.
Crime is, of course, a major concern for most South Africans, and Steyn City’s cutting-edge measures mean that residents can enjoy the magnificent array of facilities, including 45 kms of promenade to run, walk or cycle with complete peace of mind.
At the same time, developers are making their own efforts to stem the tide of crime by providing employment.
“Our location alongside Diepsloot is not accidental. To the contrary, it was carefully planned,” Plumari says, noting that Steyn’s vision was to ensure that the parkland residence which bears his name holds benefits for all South Africans. To this end, Steyn City has created thousands of employment opportunities for the Diepsloot community through its labour desk. At present, 1 835 people are deployed at City Centre alone, a figure which is increasing weekly as more subcontractors are introduced on site.
“Significantly, our proximity to the community means that people who work do not have high transport expenses. Instead, they can save their salaries for essentials like school uniforms and stationery.”
The development of Steyn City has created other advantages, too, most notably for those who travel through the New North; the hub that connects Pretoria, Midrand and Johannesburg. Steyn City is a significant contributor to the development of R511 (William Nicol); a project which will see this corridor open to the N14.
Phase II of this project will commence in early 2020. Plumari says that the parkland’s unique location is one of the factors contributing to this lifestyle.
“Our choice of this site was deliberate. With infrastructure developments making the area more accessible, we believe that the New North is poised to become Johannesburg’s next CBD – particularly since Fourways is part of the next phase of the Gautrain expansion, and Lanseria is undergoing major upgrades.”
“This all stands in testimony to our determination to creating a new way to live in Africa,” Giuseppe says.
Unsurprisingly, the number of South Africans (including celebrities) eager to take advantage of this vision is on the rise. Chris Froome, four-time winner of the Tour de France, is a case in point.
Chris made Steyn City his second home in 2018. “It’s a wonderful place for my son – he especially loves the parks and all the amazing outdoor activities available. Although we have a pool at the house, he loves meeting up with the other kids from the lifestyle resort at the main pool.” Chris adds that the outdoor lifestyle has been all the more appreciated because Monaco (where he spends nine months of every year) has few parks or lakes. “We’ve relished the sense of freedom that comes with having all of this on our doorstep.”
Of course, Chris couldn’t wait to make use of our cycling track – in fact, he even tucked his son, Kellan, onto the back of his bike. “That’s something we would ordinarily hesitate to do, even in Monaco,” Chris says, noting that the security provided by Steyn City is one of its greatest draw cards, giving the family peace of mind no matter what facilities they’re using.
Louis van Niekerk, businessman and Chair of an international group is another fan of the lifestyle resort. “My wife and I were attracted to the hassle-free, peace of mind lifestyle at Steyn City, as well as the outstanding security, especially since I travel abroad every month. The landscaping and scenery are an added bonus. I spend a lot of time walking through the parklands, and it’s a real privilege to encounter the parkland’s wildlife – I’ve spotted everything from scrub hare to springbok. It really eases life’s pressures. The long-term plans were another draw card. The idea of living in a self-contained city which has its own restaurants, medical facilities, school and every other amenity we could desire is immensely attractive.”
Businesswoman, Mpumi Madisa is similarly enthusiastic. She says that the parkland is a spectacular place to raise children: “Acres to play and ride bikes in a secure environment were a huge factor in our decision to move here. Our eight-year-old already attends Grade 3 at Steyn City School, although we have yet to move into our newly built home. Both my husband and I travel a lot so it’s reassuring for us to know that he can take the school bus home, or walk or ride to school in complete safety. There’s even a holiday club for him to take part in.”
Indeed, it’s the opportunity to access a wide range of lifestyle essentials that has drawn many families to the parkland residence. “Our goal was to create a place where convenience rules out the daily pressures so many of us are subject to,” Plumari says. “When you’re not racing from the school run to a meeting, or worrying about how you’ll cram in a grocery shop on the way home from work, you have so much more time to spend with the people you love, doing what’s most important.”
Hence the establishment of Steyn City School in 2018, a world class campus accommodating learners from Grade 000 to Grade 12 (by year 2021), with a forward-thinking curriculum and design especially formulated with an eye to the needs of the fourth industrial revolution.
The launch of Capital Park, a 14-hectare commercial centre, further facilitates the parkland residence’s work/live/play philosophy. Capital Park offers 10 individually designed three- and four-storey buildings, providing up to 80 000sq m of bulk space. Inspired by the modernist architecture of the 1950s (think white glass, timber cladding and tiles in natural tones), the coherent design of the park makes it an ideal option for a diverse range of tenants, including multinational corporates and those seeking managed office suites.
Steyn City Properties is now ready to break ground on its second commercial building, which offers a total area of 5 077m² spread across ground, first, and second storeys and roof level, as well as 315 parking bays.
This year also saw the introduction of Steyn City’s beautiful 104 on Creek apartments; an ideal option for people seeking the convenience of a lock up and go lifestyle, but still desire the space that only Steyn City’s 2 000-acre backyard can offer.
These impressive offerings set the stage for our most exciting venture yet: the City Centre.
The future is exciting
The City Centre redefines luxury living in South Africa, with design and facilities never seen before at any lifestyle estate or gated community.
“We’ve pulled out all the stops,” Plumari promises. “Steyn City is the only place in South Africa where you can schedule a meeting at the last minute and be there within the hour – thanks to our heliport, which allows you to bypass all traffic by hopping into a helicopter.”
The magic starts with the City Centre itself: picture an entirely pedestrianised city of over 700 apartments and 11 penthouses, spilling down a stepped hillside in the manner of yesteryear’s citadels. Architect Bryan Charters of SCAD (Steyn City Architecture and Design) explains that this has been made possible by building the City Centre on top of a super basement capable of accommodating 2 000 cars.
The apartments are reached from the basement via 18 core lifts, which incorporate design elements such as timber, sandstone, granite and marble.
Each lift core is visually unique, making it easy for users to remember where they’ve parked their car. Charters adds that the basements are nothing like the dingy spaces we’ve become used to. Instead, they have been envisaged as design elements in their own right, featuring light and green spaces to ensure spaciousness, while high roofs provide ventilation and create a sense of volume. “We invested enormous effort in getting the parks and green spaces to fold into the basements. We also cut large openings into the basement roofs to allow for light and ventilation. The result is a basement like none seen before, Charters says.
The City Centre is serviced by a network of tunnels beneath the basement level, which feature refuse shoots leading off each of the core lifts and diverting all refuse and services. This allows for a cleaner environment without visual ‘noise’.
Each apartment features Blu-line kitchens with integrated Gaggenau appliances. “This is one of the largest single Gaggenau installations in the world,” Charters enthuses. Made in Germany, Gaggenau is a manufacturer of high-quality home appliances and is acknowledged as an innovation leader in design and technology. With a history dating back to 1683, the company has revolutionised the domestic kitchen with its internationally acclaimed products. “This is definitely the biggest project for us in Africa. And one of the biggest in the world,” comments managing director, Alper Sengul of Gaggenau.
Kohler fittings and sanitaryware have been installed throughout.
Residents at the City Centre bask in what is best described as one of South Africa’s most beautiful lifestyle hubs. In keeping with Steyn City aesthetic, which places heavy emphasis on the outdoors, the City Centre has a number of parks and green spaces (most of which can be accessed directly from the basement).
The most noteworthy of these is the central park on the City Centre’s lower level, lined with restaurants and boutiques. This park finds its upper-level counterpart in a large piazza, which is located on a canal and, again, is surrounded by a number of high-end stores. According to Charters, these form part of 5 000 sqm of mixed-use retail space, which includes artisanal food merchants, beauticians, hair salons, pharmacies, eateries, florists, and many other service providers whose presence makes life easier for residents – especially since their service typically includes home delivery.
A large rim flow resort pool, complete with heated section, offers yet another option for relaxing and entertainment. Added to this, the City Centre features several residential roof top pools, allowing residents a private space, close to the sun, above the City Centre. Added to this, the penthouses are designed with their own private roof top plunge pools.
In stark contrast to the City Centre’s old-town aesthetic are the amenities which ensure that life can proceed at the pace that modern city dwellers have come to expect. The City Centre functions as a world class, smart city; it is entirely self-contained, and has been fitted with its own water reservoir and generators to protect against disruptions to services.
Each of the luxury apartment homes is connected to the Lagoon, one of the City Centre’s most exciting features. The Steyn City Clearwater Lagoon has been designed and built by GAST Clearwater, a South African company boasting a 58-year track record, while Renico has undertaken the bulk earthworks.
“Residential lagoons are a relatively new concept in South Africa: however, they are one of the highest attracting amenities for residential developments around the world,” comments Kevin Gast, CEO of GAST. It’s not only the size of this feature that warrants mention, at 300m long; also remarkable is the fact that it is entirely chemical free, using GAST’s Clearwater purification process to produce crystalline water.
The lagoon’s incredible features are as good as any of South Africa’s seaside destinations, including a kiddies’ water park, beach areas, volley ball courts, change facilities and a kiosk where you can grab refreshments and rent necessities like umbrellas or sports equipment.
The City Centre’s heliport adds yet another dimension of convenience to life at the City Centre. The heliport’s unique loading bay means a number of helicopters can be loaded simultaneously, so there’s no delay between taxi and take off for a large contingent.
Passengers are invited to wait within the beautiful reception area; with graceful lines inspired by a helicopter’s rotors, this facility is complete with a lounge and TV area, inviting coffee area, office suite and washroom facilities. “This is another way in which we are striving to make life more convenient – again, it’s about saying goodbye to traffic jams as we explore new ways to enhance effectiveness. It’s part of what makes Steyn City unique.”
Although it’s reasonable to anticipate that such facilities would come at a price, Steyn City Properties’ CFO, Christo de Wet says that the company is considering a number of flexible financial options that take into account the current tough economic circumstances. “Our goal to investment in Steyn City is to make it a viable proposition to more South Africans. We’re also making this investment opportunity more accessible to forward-thinking investors, helping them take advantage before there’s major uptake or the market turns.
These options also open Steyn City as an investment opportunity to a market which often finds itself precluded, such as small to medium business owners, self-employed individuals and foreigners.
De Wet explains that purchasers may, for example, consider a rental with an option to buy. This model is based on the establishment of a fixed price upfront, with an eye to buying the home after a specified period.
Pricing for City Centre will be disclosed at the launch in 2020.
“There is nowhere else in the South Africa where you can enjoy the buzz of urban living, yet saddle your horse for a ride in the countryside without leaving the property,” Plumari says with pride.
Steyn City has, indeed, fulfilled its promise.
BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE