South Africa’s most ambitious urban development is taking form at Waterfall Business Estate. Unifying northern Sandton and Midrand, Waterfall is a massive 330 hectare mixed-use development.
Waterfall spans both sides of the N1 highway, from Woodmead Interchange through the bustling Buccleuch Interchange to Allandale Interchange. It joins Modderfontein in the east, reaching beyond Kyalami in the west. It enjoys superb access from Pretoria, Sandton and Joburg. It is the largest urban concept development in SA, spanning whopping 140 hectare and offering an 800,000sqm dynamic mix retail, offices and homes. It’s centred around a 115,000sqm shopping precinct, combined with offices and apartments.
“Waterfall City is of a significantly greater scale than anything SA knows,” explains Atterbury Property Developments Director Coenie Bezuidenhout. “Besides having the critical mass of a truly vibrant, active and exciting 24-hour city, it is a place where people can live happily and healthily, work in a vibrant setting and profit from all the facilities they needed”.
Luke Chandler, Director of Bentel Associates International, explains that Waterfall City will be a truly integrated sustainable urban environment.
“It’s designed for people who long for the opportunity to live and work in a functional, healthy, vibrant and inspiring city,” says Chandler. “Buildings and streets are interwoven with both public and green space. It creates a safe, beautiful and peaceful environment everyone can be proud of.”
Chandler stresses that essential to Waterfall City’s architecture is its integration with public space. “The city’s buildings ‘open up’ to people instead of ‘turning their back’ on them. Importantly, it integrates with beautiful natural amenities - parks and rivers - encouraging a healthy, family-orientated lifestyle.”
Urban planner Reyn Vlietstra explains that Waterfall City takes the development’s prime position, on top of a hill. “In a similar fashion to Washington or Versailles, it creates the sense that all roads lead to Waterfall City,” says Vlietstra. “It appears as a hilltop sanctuary”.
In a similar fashion to Manhattan’s Central Park, Waterfall City will feature a huge park, for the city’s residents, workforce and visitors to enjoy. The city’s buildings will surround the vast green space on three sides. On the fourth side, it will stretch into a natural relaxation and recreation park. In fact, the main road will run beneath this park, removing the need cross a busy city street to get from the business buildings to this natural green zone. With all this, it’s no surprise that Waterfall City is set to become a prime business address for companies seeking the prominence of a prestigious development and the convenience of being part of an integrated city.
Bezuidenhout notes that Waterfall City holds many major advantages for business. “Besides easy access and superb visibility, an integrated urban environment offers corporates convenience and prestige. It supports a happy, healthy workforce,” says Bezuidenhout. “Consolidated and centralised services improve efficiency and reduce waste and contain costs.”
With over 6,000 homes in Waterfall Business Estate, it means people can work where they live. “This drastically reduces travelling time and distance, taking cars off the road. It’s good for stress levels, and the environment,” says Bezuidenhout. It also has unprecedented rights, offering commercial tenants the opportunity to develop iconic buildings.
Bezuidenhout reports there has been a positive market response to Waterfall City, and the other commercial developments of Waterfall, because of its unique benefits and because it makes commercial sense.
“The Midrand office market has grown at between 12.6% and 14% since 1993. Its office vacancy levels are one of the lowest in Joburg, at 5%. This shows healthy demand which Waterfall is well positioned to meet” reports Bezuidenhout.
Research shows there are over 65,000 households in Waterfall City’s primary trade area. This is growing. Residents are already underserved by retail. Some market segments simply aren’t served locally. “This primary market spends over R8,2 billion each year,” says Bezuidenhout.
The Waterfall Business Estate development will be market-driven, and roll out over the next 14 years with a total value well over R25 billion. Waterfall City represents over 80% of this value. Its construction will begin late 2012.