Ribbon Cutting: From Left to Right: Allan Pullenger, Counseller Logie Naidoo, Pat Goss, MEC Michael Mabuyakhulu MEC, Sizwe Nxasana
FirstRand Bank today announced the official opening of its regional head office in Umhlanga, Kwazulu Natal. The first phase of the office development, valued at R430 million has been named Acacia House and is the provincial headquarters of the various divisions in FirstRand, namely: First National Bank, Rand Merchant Bank and WesBank, as well as its asset management arm Ashburton.
In his keynote address, Honourable Michael Mabuyakhulu, MEC of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs in Kwazulu Natal, congratulated FirstRand for their commitment to the growth of the province and the group’s vision and investment across South Africa.
“The commitment by FirstRand to invest in the City’s sustainable economic development has been commendable and the City is confident that the presence of the architecturally appealing building in Umhlanga will enhance the beauty of this fast-growing Umhlanga precinct,” Mabuyakhulu added.
FirstRand’s CEO, Sizwe Nxasana, explained that the banking group considered Acacia House to be more than merely another city building. “Kwazulu-Natal is South Africa’s second largest economy and is well positioned in the agricultural resource-intensive manufacturing, tourism and accommodation sectors. Our investment is an extension of our continued commitment to investing in the development of the city and region, creating much-needed jobs in line with government’s employment development and social upliftment agenda”
Acacia House is positioned at the highest and most visible point in Umhlanga with commanding views over Durban’s seafront and Moses Mabhida stadium, reaching all the way to the Bluff. A vibrant mix of cafes and restaurants occupy the ground floor of the building along with a new FNB branch, revitalising the street life in this rapidly evolving part of the city.
The building has a piazza along the entire front facade contributing to an enhanced sense of arrival. At the ceremony, guests were taken through the finer architectural details of the development showcasing a touch of international design principles.
The development comprises of four parking levels, a ground floor and five office levels which will house 800 employees. The complex has a total construction area of 44 661m2 with a rentable office area of 16 000m2.
Acacia House observes best practice in terms of sustainability, visual impact, public space, climatic control, easy access, security and social responsibility as well as green building principles with a four-star ‘by design’ and ‘as built’ green rating.
The development was designed by architects Bentel Associates International and the principal contractor was WBHO. Occupation of the building was in December 2014.