Construction activity at Central Square, Sandton
Launching the powerful trio of Lushaka Investments, Mota-Engil Africa and Mercantile Bank, these three companies have collectively created a partnership for the Central Square development in Sandton.
As Sandton’s skyline becomes denser and higher, residential buildings are being sold and earmarked for AAA-grade commercial properties. As the demand for office space grows, so a shortage of quality residential property to meet the growing demand has become a new challenge.
Central Square, a mixed-use development, headed by Sergio Aquino, CEO of Lushaka Investments, is situated in the exclusive suburb of Morningside – Sandton, ushers in a new era in elegant living. The refined apartments and convenient retail space will soon become the frontrunner in the ultra-luxury category of residential property in South Africa’s business nucleus.
Identifying a gap between affordable and high-end residential property prices in the Sandton area, the development team on Central Square is entering the market at around R33, 000 per sqm, compared to the average R40, 000 per sqm rate in Sandton. An 89sqm one-bedroom apartment starts at R2.90 million at Central Square, positioning this new address favourably in the market.
Offering 12 floors with 14 apartments on each level, every unit will be distinct. There are one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments available, as well as 13 elevated, bespoke penthouses. Encouraging outdoor living and dining, wrap around balconies are one of the special features of this building.
Since launching mid-October 2014, the uptake has been astounding – to date, more than 80 units have been sold, along with eight of the 13 exclusive penthouses, making Central Square on target in terms of sales projections prior to construction, which has been awarded to international construction firm, Mota-Engil Africa.
Aquino says: “I believe that we’ve selected the best of the best in construction with Mota-Engil Africa. Their quality is way ahead of others in the market and they have an incredibly innovative approach. We want to make a noise in the market and inspire others with our best of the best partnership.”
He adds that Mota-Engil Africa wants to position themselves firmly in the South African market. “Ours is a very strong alliance and we are looking forward to their footprint growing in Africa. This joint venture is marked by a culture of entrepreneurs and innovative development, and is sure to maintain a long-term strategic outlook, thus strengthening our partnership for the execution of projects in the area of infrastructure.”
Mota-Engil is a market leader positioned among the top 30 largest European construction groups, with a string of industry awards. The company has a strong presence in Europe, Africa and Latin America. Mota-Engil Africa maintains a long-term strategic outlook and an expanded horizon for work in the markets in Sub-Saharan Africa, seeking to strengthen their partnerships to execute more projects in new markets. In 2012, Mota-Engil Africa opened up its Head office in South Africa.
Lushaka Investments have partnered with Mota-Engil Africa due to their high standards of quality, compliance, know-how and capacity. For Mota-Engil Africa, this is an exciting new era, as they are ramping up their presence in South Africa with the recent establishment of MESCA (Mota-Engil Construction South Africa) a BEE level 2, CIBD level 9 company and Central Square will be the flagship project for them as they launch in this territory.
With a presence in over 200 countries, Mota-Engil assumes a position in the market according to the values and cultural identity of their organisation, which is grounded in a unique and integrated strategic vision for the future: a more international, innovative and competitive group on a global scale.
Gilberto Rodrigues, CEO Mota-Engil Africa says, “This represents the rising sun of Mota-Engil Africa’s activities in South Africa and the project has got all the ingredients to match with our quality and standards. We are very pleased to be associated with such a development.”
The company’s commitment to quality, its goals and the growing international assertion, as well as the diversity of services offered, which can be seen in the technical skill shown in every project, has enabled Mota-Engil Africa to build and maintain a reputation of excellence within each market that it operates.
Added to this cream-of-the-crop alliance is Mercantile Bank, which has come on board to assist in terms funding for this mixed-use hub. Mercantile Bank is known to partner with established entrepreneurs, and this is the perfect partner for a unique development like Central Square.
Lushaka’s investment in this development including the World Trade Center is in excess of R3 billion. Mercantile Bank’s R600 million loan to Lushaka for this development was funded fifty/ fifty percent by its sister bank in the Caixa Geral de Depósitos (CGD) Group. CGD is the largest bank in Portugal, and a global financial services group, with a presence in 23 countries over four continents.
Aquino commended Mercantile Bank for its participation in this project. “We’ve always had a strong relationship and they have created a highly innovative approach to fund our development.”
In the last 30 years, most major companies have moved away from the Johannesburg CBD to Sandton, considered by many to be the ‘richest square mile in Africa’. Many major firms have invested in Sandton property, and this has brought many JSE-listed companies to neighbouring addresses.
In the process, this has transformed the area into Johannesburg’s new business and residential hub. The Gautrain Sandton Station, which has a direct route to O R Tambo International Airport, has attracted commuters, international travellers and business people, who have set up local offices and are now conducting business in the area with ease.
Since Sandton is fast becoming a gridlocked hub during peak hours, residents are seeking to live close to their offices, as well as the high-street lifestyle that the Sandton precinct has to offer. To solve this problem for residents of Central Square, a shuttle service will be offered every 30 minutes around Sandton and to the Gautrain station. Central Square is also conveniently located close to hospitals, schools, shopping centres, and the Sandton CBD.