A surge in demand for modern new office space in Johannesburg is seeing many of South Africa’s blue chip companies relocate to the bustling Atlas Road, alongside the site of the planned OR Tambo Aerotropolis.
So great is the demand that Atlas Road’s Clearwater Office Park, developed by Nu-Hold Group subsidiary Krisp Properties, is having to more than double in size.
The expansion, according to Krisp Properties executive director Jordan Mann, would more than double the size of the existing office park, taking it from 17,000m² gross lettable area (GLA) to almost 45,000m² GLA over the next five years.
The company has added an average of 4,000m² of commercial space per year at the office park.
Mann said the first phase of the expansion was 11,000m² of office space at the corner of Atlas Road and the K86, which he hoped to have completed by December next year. The new development would include five buildings, designed to look inwards onto a piazza, ranging from two to three storeys in height.
“We see ourselves as the forerunners of what is happening here at the OR Tambo Aerotropolis. People are taking note of our development, because it is a modern office park which has high traffic volumes along Atlas Road and high visibility,” Mann said.
“Atlas Road is a major link road between the East Rand and Pretoria.”
The demand for office parks in the area was immense, said Mann, who added that current tenants of Clearwater Office Park included Discovery Health, Old Mutual, ABSA Bank, Michelin Africa headquarters and Imperial Air Cargo. It was 90% let, he said. The estate boasts lifestyle offerings with tennis and squash courts, a gym, spa and a restaurant, all of which Mann said had proved major draw cards in addition to the modern office space.
Mann said the company was leading the charge in developing “a new business node” along Atlas Road, given the demand by blue-chip companies to relocate from the likes of Kempton Park. In December last year Michelin moved its South African headquarters from Bedfordview to new AAA-grade, 3,000m² offices at Clearwater.
Town planner Jon Busser of Urban Dynamics, which is involved on the project, said: “Atlas Road is experiencing increased demand for business uses and is attracting private investment.
“The Ekurhuleni Northern Spatial Development Framework states that the agglomeration of mixed business on both sides of Atlas Road is evidence that a natural activity spine is already forming along this route,” said Busser.
“Since the activities along Atlas Road are concentrated around business uses such as offices, distribution and industrial uses, the municipality supports and promotes further business activities to enhance the character of the area, diversify the local economy and support sustainable economic growth.”
Busser said Clearwater already offered a variety of features that made it attractive to businesses, including its close proximity to OR Tambo International Airport (ORTIA) and major arterial roads; visibility and good access; a variety of business activities in the surrounding areas ranging from retail to manufacturing and warehousing; and investment in developing infrastructure such as improving roads, electricity and telecommunication in the ORTIA triangle development.
“Clearwater and its surroundings have a high potential for further development to take place. It is our view that the proposed office development will contribute to the growth and development of the eastern side of ORTIA, utilizing underdeveloped land and strengthening development in the area,” said Busser.