Areas and Places

Now Jozi offers estate living for blue collar workers

A new development in Kew, Johannesburg offers innovative rental properties providing affordable units with a lifestyle component – a crèche, gym, supermarket, hair salon, communal spaces including gardens, a playground area, indoor soccer and basketball court, canteen, social areas, biometric access control and even wi-fi and DStv access.

Units are predominantly studios ranging in size to suit different affordability levels with one bedroom offerings all with en-suite bathrooms and kitchenettes. Each unit has a pre-paid electricity meter and readable water meters.

Live-Easy situated on the border of Alexandra and in close proximity to Sandton and Joburg’s north eastern suburbs offers accommodation priced from R1 950 to R3 750 a month. It is also close to major public transport routes on Louis Botha and London Road. The development is in stark contrast to neighbouring Alexandra as well as other parts of Joburg, where many are living in undesirable conditions, sometimes with no running water, no electricity and no security yet paying similar rentals.

The development is ideal for those earning between R3 500 and R15 000 a month, a segment of the market that desperately needs a better supply of affordable housing.

Says James Huff, co-founder of Live-Easy, “In Joburg, we saw a severe shortage of clean, safe and affordable accommodation for blue collar workers like domestic workers, waiters, cleaners and security guards. These people are earning entry level wages but land up living in unsavoury and overcrowded conditions, sharing rooms only separated by curtains and multiple tenants sharing one bathroom. We conceived this development after seeing a former factory with five huge warehouses and we saw how it could be converted into a new type of lifestyle development. It’s a great opportunity for those wanting a better life – a chance to move in and move up.”

90 of the first phase of 136 units have already been pre let. The tenants move in on 1 September and construction of phase two begins early 2017 providing a further 500 units and additional facilities.

Employers have also expressed an interest in this type of development especially those in the hospitality and call centre industries. Restaurant managers for instance, need to ensure that their staff return home safely after hours and have to coordinate lifts to different areas. The appeal of Live-Easy is that all staff members can stay at the same place, shuttle or use taxi services to and from work which becomes cheaper, staff can more reliably arrive at work on time and travel home more safely late at night and they have the added benefit of a much higher standard of living.