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

Business Day - Home Front - - HOME FRONT -

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 atholchurch@gmail.com

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