New “city” springs up in Joburg

Private Property South Africa

Sandton and the City of Johannesburg may soon have competition in the form of Zendai Modderfontein, a new R84-billion “city” that is earmarked to occupy a vast tract of undeveloped land in Kempton Park. The development is the brainchild of Hong Kong listed property development group Shanghai Zendai.

According to Zendai, the city will encapsulate nine interconnected, multi-functional nodes including a business zone, a trade and logistics park, a light industry zone, a commercial hub, an international conference and exhibition node, a trade and logistics centre, an African-themed entertainment node, an educational outpost complete with a university, a healthcare centre, a sports centre and stadium, hotels and residential accommodation for an international community.

The development’s central business district will be characterised in the main by offices, company headquarters and finance and trade operations. Zendai’s international conference and exhibition centre will reside within the city’s Long Lake Gateway area which will also feature a cultural centre, ecological offices and the city’s 19.9 hectare multi-purpose sport centre.

People and health

Zendai’s hospital, ancillary healthcare facilities, shops and retirement orientated accommodation will be located adjacent to the international exhibition zone.

The bulk of the residential accommodation will be concentrated towards the northern part of the development. In addition to residential dwellings, this 3.2km² area will also comprise a mix of shops, offices and hotels.

Zendai’s educational offering will be located to the south-east of the city. This node will comprise the university, the Founders Hill Education and Training Centre as well as a number of vocational and technical education facilities.

The city’s Highland Trade and Logistics Park will act as a base for logistics and storage companies as well as export and manufacturing entities. This area has also been earmarked as a free-trade zone under the auspices of the Overseas Economic Trade and Co-operative Zone of China.

Lastly, Zendai’s light industrial park will operate under the banner of East Founder’s Hill. The park will measure approximately 73 hectares and will act as a cluster area for aviation and light manufacturing industries. Focus will be given to the manufacture of décor, electronics, textiles, clothing and food in this zone.

Job creation

Needless to say the development is ambitious. Upon completion in 2024 it is envisaged that the city will measure 22km² and house approximately 100 000 residents. Importantly, it is estimated that commercial activity within the city will generate between 50 000 and 200 000 permanent jobs. Emphasis will be placed on eco-friendly, low-carbon development and a Gautrain station (amongst other transport links) will connect the city to the rest of Johannesburg. Construction of the mammoth project is due to kick off in 2015.

It will be interesting to see how Zendai Modderfontein will develop and what kind of impact it will have on Johannesburg. Will it draw business and residents away from Sandton and the CBD or will it strike a happy medium between these two existing hubs, fill a gap and generate much needed economic impetus? Only time will tell. Whatever the case, it is largely positive to see development on such a scale taking root in Johannesburg.

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