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