Hey, Leonardo!

Having already contributed the Michelangelo Hotel, the Michelangelo Towers, the Raphael, the DaVinci Penthouse Suites, and Nelson Mandela Square to the ever-evolving Sandton skyline, it comes as no surprise that it would be the Legacy Group who would not only add to it once again, but to do it in both a spectacularly and unique way. In partnership with Nedbank Group, Legacy Group are about to launch what has been officially recognised as the tallest tower in Africa, and what Legacy Group Chairman, Bart Dorrestein has termed, “Complete lifestyle in one building.”

Mixing it up – way up

The ethos of mixed-use communities has been growing in South Africa of late. One of the latest examples can be seen in the Waterfall development taking shape between Midrand and Woodmead on the Northern border of Greater Johannesburg. What South Africa has yet to see is a live-work-play community in a single building. That is, until now.

In the article entitled “A place to live, work and play: why mixed-use developments are making a comeback,” Dr. Laura B. Alvarez, lecturer in Architectural Technology at Nottingham Trent University writes, “Much has changed since industrial times. The gradual move from a ‘manufacturing’ to a ‘services’ era, the growth of specialised fields of expertise and advances in communication have all meant that organisations could operate at a smaller scale, giving more people the opportunity to work from home.”

For those looking for their home to be in the heart of Sandton, The Leonardo is nothing but perfect.

“People don’t like the idea of sharing their residential spaces with industrial and commercial uses. Issues such as noise, smells and loss of privacy prevent some buyers from investing in mixed use schemes. But this tendency is gradually changing. Examples across the globe are showing that living, working, socialising and entertaining locally has multiple benefits such as shorter commuting times and a more active and engaged social life,” says Alvarez.

Well, living and working in The Leonardo, the longest possible commute (via elevator) is 60 seconds. Yes, the elevator in The Leonardo is expected to take 60 seconds to get you up or down the 234 metre-high skyscraper.

From the ground up

Although this state-of-the-art transport system may give you quite the lift, there are plenty of reasons to take your time with the journey.

Managing Property Broker – Apartment/Office Sales and Rentals and Director at Legacy Retail Management, Gijs Foden, talks up the building, “From arriving at the building there are four levels of parking below ground. The first floor we have the reception level, comprising a business centre, conference facilities, boardrooms and a fantastic lounge area.

Continuing to the seventh floor, there is a 6 000 square metre recreational area. Apart from the breath-taking views, there are an architecturally unique restaurant spilling out onto a 28 metre swimming pool, manicured gardens, gym, spa and a crèche, catering for all the kids within the building.

Sectional title offices are available for sale and rental from the tenth to the fifteenth floor – the smallest being 40 sqaure metres, and the largest 1 356 square metres.”

Interior designer Steven Falcke, and young designers from Varoom have created a sophisticated, modern, exciting, fresh design that has taken the market by storm.

Views from the 41st to 45th are described as breath-taking and owners are able to mould the shell of the penthouses to their personal requirements and unique needs.

“Crowning The Leonardo is The Leonardo suite, a 3 300 square metre penthouse over three levels, located on the 47th floor, 46th floor and 45th floors. The Leonardo suite offers a private swimming pool overlooking Sandton, Gauteng,” says Foden

As the building grows taller the owners’ capital value increases and it’s legacy cements another building in the Sandton skyline.

Word on the street – street cred

The retail aspect of the building has also been presented in a unique way. According to Foden at Legacy, the retail spaces will be presented as a dynamic mix of medium-term luxury goods stores and short-term “pop-up store-type” high-end retail offerings.

Luxury and exclusivity are the words visitors will associate with the retailers. The differentiation of the retail space within the Leonardo is in the expectation, and indeed anticipation that comes with knowing that there is a distinct possibility that there will be a different mix of these high-end retail stores each time you visit the Leonardo.

Shoppers do not have to enter the building, however, to catch a glimpse of what may be on offer at any time, the 50 metre screen visible from Maude Street, will constantly be letting the outside world know what is on offer inside the luxury retail space.

The sky is the limit

When the chairman of Legacy Group Holdings, Bart Dorenstien, mentioned in reference to The Leonardo, that it was hopefully, “the start of something big,” it is hard to imagine he had this in mind.

Here are some numbers:

• R3 billion investment • Hotel room cost per night, R7 250 or R54 000 per month • 56 Floors in total, including ground floor • 234m high • Building area 125 500m² • Concrete: 55 763m³, weighing 139 407t • Steelwork: 9 170t • External tiling total area of Dekton: 12 986m2 • Glazing total area 28 064m2 • 410 000m LV wiring • 10 500m LV Cable • 1 300m MV Cable • 552m Busbar • 80 000 metre of fibre optics • 1 251 parking spaces • 6 050 steps to get to the top of the building • 1m wide rainwater collection on the side of the building

Looking back, and up

Director Co-Arc International Architects, Patrick McInerney, outlined to CNBC Africa that the undertaking had its challenges, “Having started with the basement, and getting tenants for the basement, we started building up in phases - making each of those phases a commercially viable system, allowing it to become the tallest one in Africa.”

Structural challenges were overcome using modern engineering techniques in order to overcome the “slenderness ratio” issue. “In the event of a failure, they are suspended from the floors above.”

Although the tower may lose its title to similar buildings under development across Africa, McInerney stresses, “The important thing for us is that it is a good property development in a good place.”

With the development being aimed at high net worth individuals, McInerney is confident that the space will be taken up quicker than expected, which is, “a sign that Africa is on the rise.”

McInerney says they are proud of what they have achieved, ”the tallest building being built (and) in times that are rather difficult.”

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