Rivonia is located within Sandton’s boundaries and is situated between the Braamfontein Spruit and Sandspruit. The area enjoys a rich history. It was originally characterised by farm holdings and was serviced by a few basic amenities. According to reports on the area, people would ride their horses down the main roads and riverside picnics were commonplace.
Rivonia is arguably best known for Liliesleaf Farm in Winston Road where Nelson Mandela ran the ANC. In 1963 Mandela was arrested at the nearby ‘Sleepy Hollow’ and was imprisoned at a local police station. All three locations have since been named heritage sites. According to Jessiman, many a garden in the area has been dug up in search of Mandela’s gun which he reportedly hid prior to his arrest. Whether or not the gun has been found remains a mystery.
Rivonia’s old farmsteads have long since given way to modern townhouses, apartments, shops and offices and development is on-going. Jessiman says a number of new and recently completed construction projects have been earmarked for the area and residential prices achieved for new projects have not been insignificant.
For instance, four clusters recently built under the banner of ‘Alayna Villas’ on East Pont Road recently sold for R3, 8m. Properties priced around R3, 5m at another residential development on Stiglingh Road also moved quickly says Jessiman. An upmarket hotel is due to be built next to Liliesleaf Farm and a collection of Sectional Title apartments are also taking shape near De La Ray Road. The highest residential price achieved to date for a residential property in Rivonia is R5m.
Of course there are more modestly priced properties available in Rivonia. Entry level apartments can be bought for R1m; townhouses are being marketed from R1, 5m and old freehold homes in need of some TLC can be bought for approximately R2m.Very few of the old farm style homes have survived but those that have can sell for as much as R5m, provided they have been refurbished says Jessiman. Some of these properties are over 100 years old and stand astride plots measuring up to an acre.
“Admittedly, show days are not always well attended but the important thing is that sales are still happening,” notes Jessiman. “Rivonia’s properties have also largely retained their value which is an achievement given prevailing conditions. Furthermore, forced sales and auctions are few and far between.”
The latest Lightstone report on Rivonia attests to this fact. Over 14 freehold properties have been sold to date in 2011 which, although down quantity-wise from 2010’s figures of 21 sales illustrates that values have increased. 2010 freehold sales prices averaged at R1, 6m; 2011’s prices are averaging at R1, 7m.
People gravitate to Rivonia for a number of reasons explains Jessiman. A major draw card is the convenience of the area. Sandton City, which is currently undergoing a major overhaul, lies a mere ten minutes away and all other major locations are easily accessible via the nearby highway.
The local police force is active and visible, residents can take their pick of shops, spas, gyms and highly acclaimed restaurants and residents can still escape to a number of green pockets which punctuate the area. A collection of reputable schools also lead people to invest in the area.
Jessiman adds that Rivonia’s residents are community orientated and take an active interest in maintaining the area. One resident in particular has apparently made it her personal mission to have Rivonia’s open plots cleaned out. Jessiman remarks that she also takes pride in ensuring the area’s streets are adequately signposted.
Perhaps the best indication of Rivonia’s appeal is the fact that those who move to the area either upscale or downscale as necessary but make a point of staying in the area for as long as possible.