Mov­ing on to the sec­ond phase

Michelle Swart finds out more about the launch of the fi­nal phase in Cen­tu­rion’s South­downs Es­tate

Business Day - Home Front - - HOME­FRONT -

SOUTH­DOWNS Es­tate in Irene, Cen­tu­rion, is launch­ing its sec­ond and 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 SA 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 of the South­downs Es­tate, when it be­came clear that its vi­a­bil­ity as a small, stand-alone dairy was un­der threat from mod­ern mass dairy farm­ing. Ap­prox­i­mately 200ha of the farm was al­lo­cated to South­downs Es­tate, leav­ing 110ha for the dairy farm.

South­downs di­rec­tor Jack Pren­tice says the es­tate’s suc­cess can largely be at­trib­uted to the fact that it strikes the per­fect balance be­tween old and new.

“Far from be­ing a pe­riph­eral el­e­ment, the farm forms an in­te­gral part of the es­tate with 50 of the dairy’s 110ha 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 named ‘The Barn’ and ‘The Deck’ re­spec­tively have also been es­tab­lished where vis­i­tors and res­i­dents can buy the dairy’s prod­ucts or en­joy 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 980m² and 3 000m². 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 units mea­sure be­tween 126m² and 280m² 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 says that sec­tional ti­tle prop­er­ties have proved par­tic­u­larly pop­u­lar from a rental stand­point and lease for be­tween R9 000 and R17 000 a month. 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 home’s de­sign 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 next year.

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 South­downs’ ed­u­ca­tional node is a fully equipped theatre. While the col­lege stu­dents use this venue on a reg­u­lar ba­sis, it also dou­bles as an events and con­fer­ence venue and can host up to 1 000 guests.

Ad­di­tion­ally, South­downs of­fers 13km 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 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 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 “val­ueadds” in­clude a nat­u­ral gas pipe­line which al­lows res­i­dents to side­step es­ca­lat­ing elec­tric­ity tar­iffs, a fi­bre op­tic back­bone, sta­teof-the-art se­cu­rity and an in­ter­nal wa­ter man­age­ment sys­tem.

“Where pos­si­ble, South­downs tries to adopt en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly prac­tices,” says Pren­tice. “Pock­ets of land have been left de­lib­er­ately un­touched to pre­serve the lo­cal fauna and flora. Over 6 000 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 750m² and 1 300m² will be avail­able.

“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 and be­lieve that we are well on the way to be­com­ing one of Jo­han­nes­burg’s pre­mier res­i­den­tial es­tates,” says Pren­tice.


73 stands from R1m to R2,7m


Jack Pren­tice 012 665 1147

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