Eye of Africa Signature Golf Estate6th Feb 2017
Cities are living things. They grow, they change, they evolve. If you were to create a series of maps of Johannesburg with different colours for relative land values, and then flash them onto a screen – one slide for each year of the past hundred years – you’d see a beautiful swirling, moving mass of colour.
A mere 20 years ago people who had skyscrapers in the city centre struggled to sell them for enough to pay off the rates debt. And 50 or 60 years ago, you could buy a few hectares in the middle of Sandton for a steal.
While these things may take some of us by surprise, developers live and breathe these virtual property value maps. And so, while many people were looking askance at the southern part of Joburg, people who knew what they were doing were investing in large tracts of land.
Eye of Africa Signature Golf & Residential Estate is one such place. The original developers coined the estate’s name “Eye of Africa” because it captured the beauty of the region and hinted at its proximity to Johannesburg, the economic hub of Africa. Construction began in 2007 with the infrastructure and first phase of residential properties. In quick succession work started on the magnificent golf course. Designed by the legendary Greg (Great White Shark) Norman, the 7 100-metre, par 72 championship course meanders through the natural grassland, looping back on itself. This was an inspired move.
“Eye of Africa is the first Greg Norman Golf Course Design (GNGCD) championship course opened in South Africa and it sits naturally in some of the highest rolling hills of the Gauteng region. We are proud that this course has been recognised as the new home of the South African PGA Championship, one of the most prestigious golf events on the Sunshine Tour,” a spokesperson for GNGCD told us.
The inclusion in the Sunshine Tour this year, says Kent Gush, CEO of Kent Gush Properties, has really put the estate on the map.
Although construction started on the eve of the recession, and sales did slow down a bit at that time, the estate’s financial model is built to survive long life cycles that include recessions; the properties’ values have recovered and exceeded their pre-2008 asking prices, notes Mark McGovern, COO of Eye of Africa Developments.
Russell Cruickshank and Shaun Homan of Cornerstone Projects,an accredited developer to the estate, started to purchase property at Eye of Africa in 2010. They selected four plots and put them on the market as packages complete with building. As soon as the plinths for the homes were constructed, they were snapped up and more erven were bought. To date Cornerstone Projects has built and sold 52 freehold homes on the estate, and they are busy with two sectional title developments – the 73-unit MiPad, a further 40 unit as yet un–named and finally a residential 28-stand development called The Grace.
Developed with the express intention of leaving open space for plants, birds and small mammals to thrive, Eye of Africa Signature Golf & Residential Estate is, has been, and will continue to be instrumental in ensuring the survival of some of the beautiful Highveld species. This has been done by concentrating homes in a number of clusters scattered about the 750-hectare estate. Nearly 350 hectares remains untouched and preserved Highveld splendour. While the main reason was to preserve some natural habitats, this has the added advantage of facilitating the formation of relatively intimate, well-integrated neighbourhoods within the greater Eye of Africa community.
The plan for Eye of Africa, according to Mark McGovern, is to create a vibrant recreational, social and community hub with a standard of living that is rivalled only by the sense of community and facilities available to all residents. The myriad of community-centred manicured parks with children’s play areas, water fountains, picnic areas and plenty of seating, hiking and biking trails are designed to bring families, friends and neighbours together.
Aspiring Eye of Africa investors can opt for a house and land package and build their dream home with one of the accredited developers such as Solid Living, JESC Contactors, or the previously mentioned Cornerstone Projects, partnering with accredited architects MVM Architecture, who work creatively within the design guidelines of the estate. All plans are reviewed by the Eye of Africa Architectural Review Committee to maintain aesthetic standards and ensure a harmony of style while encouraging unique design and a sense of individuality. While, of course, each cluster has its own character, the architectural style, generally, is Afropean – a clean, contemporary and refreshing look that combines contemporary European design with African flair and innovation.
“The value of both the stands and existing homes has shown an excellent growth over the past year on the back of the significant infrastructure spend by the new estate investor, David Nagle of Eye of Africa Developments,” adds Kent Gush. The newly opened Greens Grill House and a wine bar and planned construction of a new clubhouse and resort pool and deli in the central park have been added to a host of other facilities – floodlit tennis courts, pools and currently under construction, hiking and mountain biking trails as well as excellent birding.
With all the advantages of being close to the economic powerhouse of Africa, but far from the madding crowd, the Eye of Africa Golf & Residential Estate is great place to bring up kids knowing they can wander around safely in a secure and contained, but exciting and just-wild-enough, environment. Best of both worlds.