Roy Cokayne

The Johannesburg central business district (CBD) was still important to Standard Bank despite the bank deciding to build a new 62 000m2 office complex for R2 billion in Rosebank, Stewart Shaw-Taylor, the head of real estate investments for the corporate and investment division at the bank, said yesterday.

Shaw-Taylor said the bank’s head office, which accommodated 15 500 employees, was still in the Johannesburg CBD. This was where chief executive Jacko Maree would remain and where the bank’s main board meetings would take place.

He said that, when it became clear to Standard Bank in about 2008 that its head office was not spacious enough to accommodating all its staff, the bank had considered an available site in the CBD. But Shaw-Taylor said this did not make sense because of the risk in concentrating operations in one location as the bank already had 200 000m2 of offices in town.

He added that Standard Bank at that time had about 5 000 staff members dispersed in 17 000m2 of various rented offices in and around the CBD. This was not ideal for the staff because of the different quality properties in which they were accommodated, and it was clear the bank had to pull them into a head office complex.

He said it also made good business sense to build in a suburban location closer to the bank’s large clients who had moved out of the CDB and into Rosebank and surrounding areas, because adding capacity outside the CBD would reduce the bank’s concentration risk.

He said this led to Standard Bank adopting a three-site strategy with its head office business units in the CBD, its client-based operations in the new office complex in Rosebank and its disaster recovery and call centre in Constantia Kloof in Roodepoort.

The finishing touches are being put to the new Rosebank office complex, which has been built by Wilson Bayly Holmes-Ovcon. The roughly 5 000 bank staff who will be accommodated in the complex will start arriving in a phased relocation process from May.

Standard Bank’s Rosebank site comprises two buildings of nine and 11 floors located east and west of a central multi-volume atrium and on top of five super basement levels that will provide 3 800 parking bays for staff and bank customers.

The highest parking level will be the foundation for one of Johannesburg’s largest roof gardens at 1ha in size and incorporating a long water feature and 422 indigenous trees.

Rory Roriston, the head of real estate asset management at Standard Bank, said the building had received a five-star green design rating and included a lot of green technology at various levels, including water, energy generation and energy efficiency, building materials, architecture, landscaping, air conditioning and indoor environmental quality.

Shares climbed by 0.44 percent to close at R119.51 yesterday.