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ATWENTY-STOREY hotel and office development in Ashlea Gardens is set to change the face of the suburb forever as development in the Menlyn node continues to gain pace.
Development in the node has been encouraged by the Tshwane Metro Council’s newly approved spatial development framework, according to Dennis Hamer, owner and co-principal of Harcourts Capital, who says the development plan will fast-track the evolution of the area.
From a predominantly single-storey residential suburb to a vibrant collection of multi-storey blocks of flats and upmarket offices, Ashlea Gardens and Newlands have seen a lot of development in recent years.
Now the area can look forward to the construction of Menlyn Towers, a Michaelanglo Hotel look-alike, on the corner of Garstfontein and Matroosberg roads.
According to Hamer, the 26 000m² site is earmarked for a 20-storey landmark building that will comprise a hotel (for which a lease is in place) as well as a limited number of upmarket residential flats and A-grade offices.
With easy access to the N1 as well as to popular facilities – such as the Menlyn Park Shopping Centre, Menlyn Square, with its vibrant nightlife, a host of eateries, and the Menlyn Maine “green” development, schools and colleges – the area is proving a hit among the young and upwardly mobile, Hamer says.
Further underpinning the re- vitalisation of the Menlyn node, he says, is the new R2.6 billion Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system – phase one is due to start operating in April next year – and a Gautrain bus service. This link between Menlyn and Sunnyside, Arcadia, Hatfield and the CBD is likely to further boost Menlyn’s appeal as an ideal place to live, work and play.
“A key element of the spatial development framework (SDF) is that it promotes vertical residential redevelopment and densification in the area, hence the wave of high-rise construction in both the residential and commercial sectors,” says Hamer.
“Single-storey houses are not nearly as financially viable as multiple-storey buildings, (which explains) the trend for developers and investors to buy up old houses for their land value and then knock them down to make way for apartment and office buildings.
“Young career-minded people who are moving into the area in a steady stream to take up jobs in the new office blocks are also the most active element of the buyer pool.
“They’re predominantly interested in affordable, lock-up-and-go living within easy access of their workplaces. (This is the cause of the) undersupply of residential sectional title.”
This, says Hamer, bodes well for developers wanting to capitalise on the need for flats in all price brackets, though land is rare. He reports strong interest in a 5 600m² plot in Matroosberg Road which has rights in place for a block of flats.
On the market for R7 million, he says the property is ideally located for those working in Menlyn as well as people requiring easy access to other work centres.
“Employees will need somewhere to live, with the focus on affordability and commuting convenience,” he says. “This site, with its quick access to the recently upgraded Garstfontein/N1 interchange, is an excellent investment opportunity.”
Aside from the trend towards sectional title living, Hamer also reports rising buying interest in sectional title office space.
“We’re seeing increasing demand from people working from home wanting to move to more professional work premises,” he says.
“They can buy as little as 100m² of space for between R15 000 and R18 000/m², compared with serviced A-grade office space, which lets for up to R190/m² a month.
“An office of 200m² would command a monthly rental of around R34 000. The same space, if purchased, would incur monthly bond repayments of around R27 000, so it makes financial sense.”
This trend, he says, has triggered the growth of medical suites, the result of related professionals buying offices next to each other.
“Doctors are buying alongside dentists; attorneys are buying next to insurance brokers and architects. It’s an affordable, practical win-win situation for everyone,” he added.