Areas and Places

R250 million ugrade to The Atrium adds to Berea's appeal

Mahomed Jooma, a sales agent with the Rawson Property Group’s Berea franchise, says that the recently completed upgrading of the Essenwood-based The Atrium centre, built in the 1970s, has had an amazing effect on property values in the nearby suburbs of Overport, Morningside, Musgrave and Essenwood itself.

“Since it became clear,” said Jooma, “that this massive 25,000 m2 complex (which includes 7,000 m2 of offices as well as 18,000 m2 of retail space) was to be refurbished, the public have responded incredibly enthusiastically to it and it is now very much the centre of Essenwood shopping life.”

“From about the time that this R250 million upgrade began, to near completion some six or seven months ago,” said Jooma, “excitement began to be felt in the area and demand for houses here rose quite noticeably, with the result that this year prices have gone up to 10 to 15% year-on-year. I have since April sold ten homes in suburbs nearby and the prices here have varied from R540,000 for a single bedroom flat to R7,2 million for a five bedroom home.”

Jooma has also just concluded a R6,5 million cash deal for a penthouse in Musgrave and he says, however you measure it, these satisfactory increases definitely stem from the new look that has been given to The Atrium.

Asked what is so special about the new office/retail complex, Jooma said that it has become bright, airy and in every way a very modern shopping centre with more than ample parking. Particularly striking, he said, is the 17,8 m high central atrium which allows natural light to filter into all three levels and which architecturally is, in his words, “wholly brilliant”.

The tenant mix in The Atrium, added Jooma, is fully comprehensive and includes Checkers, Dis-Chem, a large Virgin Active Gym, Pep, Pick ‘n Pay, several national chain restaurants, seven banking outlets, six cellphone shops, a post office, a travel agency, a UK visa application office, a photographic studio camera shop and medical suites.”

“This wonderful refurbished centre,” said Jooma, “has been the catalyst for even faster price rises in what is already a very popular high demand area. It should also, however, be mentioned that the area also attracts people on account of its having such good schools, both private and state-owned.”