Property could be the answer to your prayers
A church in the affluent Sandton suburb of Atholl is on the market at R8m. Michelle Funke finds out more
THE Johannesburg suburb of Atholl, named after a division in the Scottish Highlands, is centrally located close to the Sandton CBD and major highways and byways. As one of Sandton’s trendy and elite neighbourhoods, Atholl boasts a range of amenities and some of the area’s best eateries.
But it is little known that Atholl Church is the only church building in the suburb as well as in the neighbouring areas of Inanda and Illovo. As one of the oldest properties in the area, Atholl Church was built before most of the houses there, and has served the community for the past 55 years. It is now up for sale for R8m.
Troy Dyer, current owner of the church property, explains that it was built in 1958 at a time when Atholl was a sparsely populated residential area north of the main suburbs of Johannesburg.
“To put the era into context, Atholl Church was established 15 years before the Sandton City Shopping Centre was built in 1973. There were few other houses in the Atholl area at the time.”
Atholl has, over time, grown to become one of the most popular areas in the Sandton precinct, ranked third out its eight neighbouring suburbs, according to Lightstone, a property data and statistics provider. The Lightstone facts and figures on Atholl show that with property stock in the area mostly made up of freehold stands (70%), over the past 12 months more than 77% of properties in Atholl changed hands for more than R3m apiece, with an average value of just over R4.5m for freehold properties. Buyers, it seems, are mainly families, with 41% of recent buyers aged between 36 and 49 years old.
Talking about the history of this particular property, Dyer says that the foundation stone of the church shows the date of dedication as 29 November 1958.
In 2001 the church property changed hands and Dyer purchased the property. Dyer was interested in preserving the church building, rather than see it demolished to make way for cluster housing. As a lecturer at Wits Business School at the time, Dyer considered using the property to establish a school for entrepreneurship development. Ultimately the plans to use the property as a school changed and it was decided to continue using the property as a church.
The property is set on a 4,000m2 stand, and includes various buildings totalling about 450m2. The buildings on the property include a chapel or auditorium which seats 160 to 180 people with a stage area, two entrance halls to access the chapel, two offices adjacent to the chapel stage area and a large central courtyard leading to a reception area, a large boardroom and four meeting rooms or offices. The property also includes two classrooms, a kitchen area, including a pantry and a serving counter, two storerooms situated near the chapel stage area, a large patio overlooking the spacious back garden, a one-bedroom staff cottage with an additional storeroom, separate male and female toilet facilities as well as an open parking area which can accommodate 30 to 40 cars. There are also various sections of landscaped garden.
Dyer’s favourite feature of the property is the chapel, with its Rhodesian teak parquet floor. “It is the heart of the property and has a large stained glass window with the shape of the cross,” he says.
Over the past few years, additional property rights were applied for to enhance the value of the church property. Now zoned as Residential 1, and based on its design, the property has multiple usage options, including a religious centre or place of worship for any religion, a nursery school for up to 100 children, a guest house — as the council supports development of a 15-room guest house on this property — or for conversion into a one-of-a-kind home for a visionary owner.
“Given the steady development of the Sandton and Rosebank business nodes, partly due to the location of a Gautrain station serving each area, the property is well located to benefit from the growth in business and tourist demand for guesthouse accommodation,” Dyer says.
Price: R8m Contact: Troy Dyer 083 326 3260 email@example.com