One of the richest blocks in Sandton is getting a major revamp – here’s what to expect

The City of Johannesburg has invited residents and stakeholders to comment on its new Sandton Summit Precinct Plan 2019.

The plan primarily focuses on making the precinct a better place to work and live with a focus on solving traffic, introducing world-class architecture, encouraging more public spaces and having ‘hundreds of things’ to do.

“We appeal to all affected residents and sta​keholders to take part in this public participation process,” said Reuben Masango, member of the Mayoral Committee for Development Planning.

“The public participation process of a precinct plan is designed to give members of the public an opportunity to engage with key documents, as well as to allow them have a say in how their areas are transformed and developed,” he said.

The precinct

The Sandton Summit precinct is located south of Sandton Central.

It is bound by Rivonia Road and Katherine Street to the north, Wierda Road and Albertyn Road to the east, Inanda Greens and, Impala Road to the south and Protea Road to the west.

According to the official development plan, the area remains relatively isolated due to the lack of a permeable road network, which could promote access into the precinct.

“The highspeed roads that form the northern boundary, also create a barrier to connections from within the precinct to the larger retail node of Sandton City and the Sandton Gautrain station,” it states

“The lack of movement into and through the precinct constrains any development potential as it currently stands. The ideal outcome would be to increase the visibility of the precinct by opening movement corridors that traverse the area from east to west, and from outside of the precinct in the north to the landmark Inanda Greens in the southeast.”

Changes 

To generate more traffic, a large portion of the proposed revamp is dedicated to the introduction of new roads and servitudes – designed to make the precinct ‘walkable’.

The plan also explicitly states that when redevelopment occurs, all available connections are made – be they pedestrian, vehicular, by public transport or via cycling routes.

Some of the key changes proposed as part of the new precinct plan include:

Rezoning

The plan proposes a change in land-use over time, through incremental rezonings done entirely at the discretion of the private property owners/ developers.

This will include ‘special’ rezonings which will promote higher-density offices, hotels with associated uses, shops, businesses and residential dwelling units.

Current key buildings include Sandton City Shopping Centre and the Webber Wentzel offices located ‘outside’ of the boundary to the north and east of the precinct, with Discovery Head Office and the new Sasol building anchoring the north and east quarters of the precinct respectively.

Fewer offices 

While a large part of the precinct is made up of offices, the plan encourages a  move to a ‘mixed-use precinct’ so that higher density residential, community facilities (e.g. clinics, doctors rooms), and low-intensity neighbourhood retail centres can be introduced.

“If there is a clear indication that developments will comply with the design principles in terms of pedestrian accessibility, pedestrian orientated activity at street level, a vertical mix of activity and support of public transport initiatives – they will be acknowledged and welcomed,” the plan states.

This will include a push to buildings with a higher Floor Area Ratio (FAR), as well as limitations o then height of buildings.

“Height is to be graded from the most southerly, less intensive zones permitting 5-15 storeys south of Wierda with a height limit of 5 storeys for developments facing directly onto residential areas,” the report states.

“The northern zone of the precinct is graded at 15-30 storeys to tie in with developments at the core of Sandton Central.”

Public access 

The plan proposes the introduction of a pedestrian priority route called “The Summit Walk” that will provide a link from Rivonia Road in the northwest to Impala Road in the southeast, and further to Inanda Greens.

Additionally, Park Lane will take the form of a widened linear parkway and boulevard with pedestrian and cycling amenity within it.

The plan also calls for the upgrading and implementation of public transport, pedestrian and cycling amenity along Wierda Road East and West, Discovery Place, Park Lane, Empire Place as well as Impala Road.

Other proposed changes to access and traffic control include:

  • Discouraging non-residential traffic, and encouraging the use of ‘stop and drop’ and street-side parking, with basement level parking to be utilised for the larger corporate offices being developed;
  • Various traffic calming measures will be encouraged throughout the precinct, primarily on the east-west routes of Discovery Place, the extension of Wierda Road West as well as the extension of Impala Road in the south;
  • The desire is to attract tenants that suit the move to a mixed-use precinct, encouraging residential and retail uses, commercial office space, and including hotels, theatres, health facilities, gyms and other land uses that encourage active street frontages and aid the development of a walkable and cyclable precinct.

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One of the richest blocks in Sandton is getting a major revamp – here’s what to expect