PETROCHEMICALS giant Sasol is consolidating its Gauteng offices into a new building in Sandton that will be among the country’s largest private, single-tenanted office developments.
The Sasol Pension Fund and developer Alchemy Properties will jointly develop and lease to Sasol a 67,000m² office building at 2 Katherine Street — in a node flagged as Sandton’s next development hub.
The consolidated office space, due to open in the second half of 2016, is intended to house between 3,000 and 4,000 Sasol employees, who at the moment are in 17 buildings across Bryanston, Randburg and Rosebank.
Rode & Associates property valuer and economist Erwin Rode said the development would probably be the largest new single-tenanted office in South Africa in recent years and was likely to be among South Africa’s biggest, joining the likes of Old Mutual and Sanlam’s offices.
While the parties have not disclosed the value of the development, Standard Bank’s similar-sized new 65,000m² office in Rosebank cost more than R2bn.
Demolitions have begun at 2 Katherine Street, which is home to small two-storey offices.
Alchemy Properties CEO Greg Sacks said the office had been designed to be one of Sandton’s landmark buildings. Designed by Paragon Architects, the office would have "a massive floor plate of about 6,500m² ".
The 10-storey office building, targeted to achieve a Green Building Council of South Africa Green Star five-star rating, will have a common single core in the centre.
Mr Sacks said Alchemy Properties and JSE-listed Growthpoint Properties had also been in preliminary discussions to develop a "new office precinct" for Sandton around Katherine Street. "We have had preliminary discussions, and there’s interest on both sides.
"We think (the development is) in the interests of the landlords, of the tenants and of Sandton ."
Mr Sacks said such a development would go a long way in making Sandton more pedestrian friendly. With little infrastructure development on the Wierda Valley side of Katherine Street in recent years, the node was "ripe for redevelopment".
Development in Sandton was "swinging away from the more traditional areas such as Grayston Drive", catalysed by the development of Sandton’s Gautrain station and new entrance to Sandton City, Mr Sacks said.
Katherine Street was now "the epicentre of where all the new development is happening".
Sasol GM of group communication Jacqui O’Sullivan said the consolidated office space would offer employees a space to collaborate and would "realise significant cost savings" for the petrochemicals giant.