Cycling past the 9th green at the Steyn City Lifestyle Resort
The official opening of the multi-billion rand Steyn City Lifestyle Resort, north of Fourways in Johannesburg, heralds a new era in South African property circles with the 2 000 acre project representing Africa’s largest residential development to date.
Speaking at the official launch of the resort, Steyn City Properties CEO Giuseppe Plumari stated that; “There is no development on the continent that I know of, that compares in size and infrastructure to Steyn City. This will allow residents to enjoy an unparalleled array of leisure activities and create a unique quality of life that has long been out of the reach of most South Africans, due to high walls, the need to commute and security concerns.”
This open style of living will allow residents to interact with their neighbours and enjoy the numerous open spaces, paved boulevards, running and cycle tracks, skate park, outdoor gym areas and The Club at Steyn City golf course.
Homes will also enjoy uninterrupted views of the resort enabling residents to step onto the surrounding parkland within meters of their homes, resulting in far less time spent in motor vehicles to pursue their favourite pastime. In addition to the extensive parklands, that constitutes 50% of the development, the resort’s wildlife reserve and ‘green’ areas will never be developed, guaranteeing home owners abundant open space to live and play.
The bigger picture
At a macro level, Plumari elaborated that Steyn City has been a catalyst for the rapid growth of the Fourways node and the creation of the ‘new north’ of Johannesburg. Much of this growth has stemmed from the fact that Steyn City Properties has adopted the bold approach of an upfront, multi-billion rand investment into the required infrastructure and services in and around the development, with more than R50-billion to be invested in Phase 2 of the project.
This level of investment has already had direct, positive socio-economic benefits for the neighbouring, disadvantaged communities of Diepsloot and Cosmo City through the creation of more than 11 500 jobs. It has also seen the developers entering into a number of public/private partnerships with government including the construction of new roads (R511), sewerage, water and other basic services.
The biggest of these was with the Johannesburg Roadworks agency on the R511 William Nicol Road upgrade that saw Steyn City contributing R300-million (a third of the total cost) to expand arterial roads and ensure this project was completed as soon as possible. As a result, William Nicol Extension has transformed into a six lane, dual carriageway with additional dedicated pedestrian and cyclist lanes.
Plumari reports; “In addition, we are working with government to extend the William Nicol through to the N14 which is already under way. We have given a commitment that once specific volumes are reached, we will further partner with government for additional infrastructure upgrades.”
Steyn City is also partnering with government to upgrade Cedar Road that will feature two lanes on either side, from Fourways Life Hospital through to Steyn City Cedar Gatehouse. Gautrans has issued a tender for the construction and the appointment of a contractor is imminent. Steyn City will make a bulk contribution of one third of the total cost of construction.
A mixed-use development
The first phase of the development that launched this week saw the completion of 93 apartments and 19 clusters, with a further 45 clusters to be built off plan. In addition six show homes have been completed and 220 freehold stands have been released onto the market that will allow owners to build their own homes.
Sales and Marketing Manager Seamus Moore says prospective buyers will experience a totally different approach to the sales of homes and stands in the resort. “We want them to experience the lifestyle that we have on offer. For example, take a walk on the promenade, watch their children play at the skate park or indulge in a quiet moment of contemplation at one of the many land art pieces that are dotted throughout the resort.”
He clarifies that in terms of property pricing; ultimately the market is going to decide on the appropriate increases and timing thereof. “There will be price increases in time, once market demand indicates that is feasible and once we reach certain targets and levels.”
“Granted, home owners are going to pay what might be perceived as a premium price as compared to other residential developments but this is not like other residential developments due to its size and unparalleled lifestyle, so it’s vital to factor in the intangible/’hidden’ value attached to the properties on offer.”
He adds; “The neighbourhood often says more than the house and in our case, the surrounding parklands and landscape will determine the property values and neighbourhood status of our striking new address. With its 2 000 acres, Steyn City is a perfect example of this and should therefore be viewed as so much more than just real estate.”
Dr Andrew Golding, Chief Executive of Pam Golding Property Group which is jointly marketing the resort’s residential properties with Steyn City Properties says that the mixed-use development is a pioneering and bold project, the likes of which have never before been seen in South Africa.
“This multi-billion rand project is a boom for the local economy and indicates just how much faith investors now have in the rapidly growing Gauteng residential development property market. Pam Golding Properties is delighted to be involved in the marketing of the impressive Steyn City residential properties that are now coming to market.”
He adds that; “Steyn City is a completely new lifestyle concept. In recent years, we have seen that many people want to return back to more traditional village forms of living, but with all of the conveniences of a modern lifestyle. There has been a growing demand for attractive, upmarket properties that offer total convenience combined with a sense of community and serenity. Steyn City is an innovatively designed space that meets a myriad of needs and we believe that it has a fantastic future.”
A range of residential options
In line with that, the one, two and three bedroom apartments at Steyn City range in size from 74m2 to 149m2 with a starting price of R1.650-million up to R3.9-million. One of the most innovative aspects of Steyn City is the approach to the look and feel of these apartments that have a much more articulated, ‘village feel’, due to variances in the height of the buildings, while still following a contemporary, barn architecture that includes steel work and timber cladding.
Developers have also responded to market appetite for this type of residence, with the recent announcement of an additional 25 ultra-luxury apartments that will be sold off plan. Scheduled for completion within the next 18-months, they will enjoy exclusive frontage over the 18th hole and the clubhouse of the Nicklaus Design golf course.
The R13.9-million apartments will each feature luxurious proportions with 350m2 of floor space, 100m2 to 120m2 patios and a 2m x 3m plunge pool. The interiors of the apartments will be designed by renowned interior designer Stephen Falcke and residents will have access to a large basement for parking as well as lockup, single-garage size, self-storage units.
The second profile of property on offer at Steyn City are cluster homes that range in price from R6.2-million to R8.4-million and include mostly four bedroom options, with an average floor size of 350m2 on stands varying from 400m2 to 600m2. All the clusters have patios and all bedrooms are en-suite and large enough to incorporate a king size bed. A village feel has again been adopted with no boundary walls between residences. Instead, planting of trees that will grow up to six metres high, will provide natural screening and privacy and allows each cluster to open onto a garden.
Steyn City is also home to an array of beautifully appointed freehold stands that will provide homeowners with a unique vantage point at the Resort, whether they’re in one of the lush parkland suburbs; alongside the Nicklaus Design golf course or enjoy exclusive river frontage. Stands feature a starting price of R2.3-million and range in size from 800m2 to 1 300m2 all the way through to expansive 4 000m2 fairway and river frontage stands in the region of R12-million to R16-million.
Residents will be able to build their homes according to their preference from a selection of architectural styles including: Contemporary, Thesen Island, Barnhouse and sandstone clad French Chateau, a number of spec homes have already been constructed as part of the official launch of the project in the first Show Village.
Rentals of one bedroom apartments will be in the region of R10 000. As with any new development, there will be downward pressure on rental yields until an apartment block is fully occupied and rental yields are therefore conservatively estimated at between 6% – 8% in the first year.
In terms of the management of Steyn City COO Gary Lees explains that much thought and consideration has been given to the most professional manner in which to manage the Resort.
“Running any property development is a complex task but especially so when it comes to one of the unprecedented size and scale of Steyn City. A standard home owners association simply cannot function in a development of this size which requires professional people on the ground at any given day.
“The approach that we’re taking is the establishment of a rock solid management team that knows what it’s doing so that home owners are assured of the best possible service and expertise at any given time,” he explains.
The Steyn City Management Association will therefore manage the resort in the best possible manner, based on its own level of expertise as well as continuous feedback from residents. “It will be in our interest to take on board what residents are saying but ultimate control will rest with the home owners association to make those rules and to change direction if the need arises,” clarifies Lees.
Levies will be determined as per the costs of the association to operate at an efficient but cost-effective manner. Levies will start off at market related prices but will rise at a far slower rate than at a normal development, due to the critical mass of residents at Steyn City. Until that critical mass is reached, the rate of levies will be covered by the developers.
In addition, a levy stabilisation fund will mean that a home owner who sells his property will contribute 1% of the sale price back into the fund to ensure the ongoing financial stability of the management association. Despite having to pay this at the time of sale, this mechanism will enhance the re-sale value of property at Steyn City, as prospective residents will be able to appreciate how financially stable and well managed Steyn City is.
Looking ahead, a City Centre is also under construction and will open in 2018. It will feature a selection of restaurants, retail and commercial outlets and 700 apartments. Further afield, a medical facility and a school will break ground at Steyn City during the course of 2015.