Spotlight on Brooklyn

Private Property South Africa
Lisa Dewberry

Known as a well-established upmarket residential area, Brooklyn is popular for arts, dance and theatre, super amenities, and great educational organisations.

Brooklyn is a well-established area with a flair that’s rich in arts and culture, top-notch educational institutions and world-class shopping. This upmarket residential area which has been home to presidents, ministers, diplomats, academics and artists, is filled with beautiful houses built. It borders the University of Pretoria on Lynnwood Road to the north, Waterkloof to the south, Fehrsen and Roper Street to the west and Brooklyn Road to the east.

Jean-Pierre Verster, director of Brooklyn Theatre, living in the area for nine years, says there is a strong creative element to the suburb with Brooklyn Theatre playing an instrumental part in the artistic character of the area. He says the theatre operated as a classical music store in Brooklyn Mall for 12 years before it relocated to Thomas Edison Street in October.

“The team at the theatre have been staging classical concerts, promoting classical music, creating work for classical musicians and recording CDs since 1994. Young artists at the theatre perform art inspired music and are involved in projects to promote appreciation of music, especially classical music,” says Jean-Pierre.

The Fried Contemporary Art Gallery in Brooklyn further enhances the creativity of the suburb with regular curated exhibitions by local artists. Mika Thom, director of the gallery, says it was founded in 2005 and held their first Collector’s Room exhibition in October 2014 entitled ‘Capital Past’ focussing on artists with a strong connection to Pretoria such as Alexis Preller, Braam Kruger and Sydney Khumalo.

Brooklyn is also renown for dance and Dance Hub studios which opened in the suburb in January 2014 is an example of a platform encouraging residents to embrace this art form. Susan Attfield, co-owner of Dance Hub studios, says they teach Royal Academy of Dance inspired ballet exclusively to adult ballet dancers, especially older hobby dancers wanting to do ballet as an alternative form of fitness allowing dancers to dance en pointe in pointe shoes.

Brooklyn also has a unique international atmosphere and is known as an area populated with embassies and international residents perfect for building a global network. Among bodies representing governments in Brooklyn are the Italian Embassy, Embassy of Sri Lanka, Embassy of Ukraine and High Commission Republic of Cyprus.

When it comes to shopping in the area, Brooklyn Mall and Design Square provide a full complement of national retailers and specialist retail stores with an assortment of restaurants and coffee bars. These shopping destinations offer customers the convenience of one-stop-shopping catering to requirements of the most discerning shopper.

If it’s quality education for the children you are after, Brooklyn has some of the best educational institutions in South Africa including Pretoria Boys High School, Brooklyn Primary School, Pretoria Preparatory School, Brooklyn Inter-nation Preschool and the University of Pretoria. Tony Reeler, headmaster of Pretoria Boys High School, says schools in the area aim to provide learners with broad-based education reflecting values, needs and aspirations of the community.

Pretoria Boys High School, situated on an 85 acre campus in Roper Street, is one of the oldest schools in the province founded in 1901 with around 1,500 learners making it the largest boys’ school in South Africa. The schools in Brooklyn pride themselves on maintaining high standards of holistic education based on full academic, cultural and sporting programmes and aim to uphold moral values and principles allowing learners to reach their full potential,” says Tony.

Kate Prinsloo, councillor for Ward 46 and a resident of the area for almost 40 years, says Brooklyn has everything your heart desires whether you want to enjoy your favourite movie at Cinema Neauvou, browse interesting books at Exclusive Books, have a delicious pizza from Col'cacchio or indulge in a gelato at Häagen-Dasz. She says the area also offers an ideal working environment and is the place of choice for many financial institutions and professionals.

“I love that not a great deal has changed in the area over the past 40 years, but changes that have been made have been monitored by the Brooklyn and Eastern Areas Residents Association, one of the oldest residents associations in the country, protecting the character of the area since 1924. During October, the Jacaranda Trees along the wide leafy boulevards are in full bloom and busloads of tourists visit the suburb each year to take photographs. It makes you want to pinch yourself knowing all of this is on your doorstep - I wouldn’t trade Brooklyn for any other place in the world,” says Kate.

Things to do in and around Brooklyn

  • Enjoy a concert at the Brooklyn Theatre
  • Take a dance class in ballet at Dance Hub studios Brooklyn
  • Browse interesting books at Exclusive Books at Brooklyn Mall
  • View an art exhibition at Fried Contemporary Art Gallery
  • Take a stroll down the wide boulevards lined with Jacaranda Trees

Property prices in the Brooklyn area

  • A typical property for sale in Brooklyn is a five-bedroom house at an average asking price of R4,45m
  • 15% of properties for sale are flats, at an average asking price of R4,99m
  • 2% of properties for are in complexes, at an average asking price of R3,75m
  • Average monthly rental for a three-bedroom house: R20,000

Demand

Properties for sale in Brooklyn comprise 3% of total sales listings in the Pretoria Central and Old East area. They receive:

  • 4% of the interest

  • 7% of the total rental listings

This article originally appeared in Neighbourhood, Sunday Times.

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