When Attacq, one of South Africa’s leading property developers, began construction work on the ground-breaking Waterfall City development around eight years ago, the firm knew it had a colossal job on its hands. Tasked with creating Gauteng’s newest urban lifestyle city from the ground up, Attacq has made an enduring commitment to the province. In recent years, the company has passed a number of important milestones in the ongoing construction of the development, with a great deal more to be achieved over the next decade. Pete Mackenzie, Attacq’s head of development takes stock of the project’s progress thus far, and looks towards the bright future of Gauteng’s newest lifestyle metropolis.
Waterfall City represents Attacq’s leading development node across its extensive portfolio, with the sprawling mixed-use urban development hub set to become the region’s most complete city. Comprised of all aspects of urban living from housing, offices, retail centres, urban parks and entertainment services, the site will offer a complete package to its inhabitants.
Attacq, a subsidiary of the Atterbury Group, has primarily been involved with the roll out of Waterfall’s commercial developments since it came on board on the project. The firm’s responsibilities have ranged from office spaces, industrial centres, warehouses and retail developments across the city.
The recent completion of the landmark Mall of Africa represents the jewel in the crown of Attacq’s Waterfall City assets. The super-regional mall opened in April 2014, swiftly becoming South Africa’s largest shopping mall and the continent’s largest single phase retail centre.
“It [The Mall of Africa] has been very well received, the occupants are trading very well and we are getting the footfall, so it has been a key development for Waterfall,” says Mackenzie.
Although it was a momentous achievement for Attacq, the Mall of Africa is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the firm’s ongoing developments in Waterfall City.
The mall makes up part of the 450,000m2 of development that the firm has completed thus far, but when the city is fully developed Attacq will have built a staggering 1.9 million square metres of bulk construction.
“We are creating a city in its infancy, its only eight years since the first buildings were started and we are only really a quarter way through the total development. We expect it to be a 15-20 year roll out,” says Mackenzie.
Along with the flagship Mall of Africa development, Attacq has also completed a few smaller retail projects, office developments and industrial centres across the area spanning Waterfall City.
Waterfall Corner, a retail piazza dotted with stylish shops and delectable eateries opened its doors to the public in April 2014, which was followed by the inauguration of Waterfall Lifestyle three months later.
The Waterfall Lifestyle development embodies Attacq’s intention to deliver a comprehensive urban experience by providing an interactive health and lifestyle centre, which includes a Virgin Active gym and trampoline park BOUNCE.
Attacq has also finalised five office developments within the Waterfall City complex, with many more to be built in the coming years. Completed workplace developments include the South African head office of Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis, and most recently the mutli-tenanted Allandale building, which was completed in August 2016.
The attraction of having offices located in the nascent Waterfall City development is attaining what Mackenzie calls corporate consolidation, which is signified by the strength and breadth of Attacq’s completed and ongoing office developments.
“There are companies which are consolidating their operations, in terms of if they have an office in Pretoria and one in Johannesburg, they are looking to reduce their overheads by combining their operations to end of with just one facility in Waterfall.
“PwC is a fine example of a company who have two offices and are going to combine that into one facility in Waterfall City.”
Attacq is in the process of constructing consultancy networking firm PwC’s iconic high-rise head office, which will dominate the Waterfall skyline and become one of the city’s most distinguished office spaces.
The PwC Tower Headquarters incorporates a unique twist in its structural design, while also meeting the silver standard of LEED’s (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) internationally accredited rating systems for green buildings.
PwC’s new 26-story home will house 3,500 employees when it is eventually completed in early 2018.
Waterfall City’s unrivalled strategic location has been the key behind the widespread corporate consolidation that the development has enjoyed so far.
“If you take Gauteng province, Waterfall sits right in the middle and is ideally located between Pretoria and Johannesburg,” beams Mackenzie.
The beauty of Waterfall’s central location in Gauteng lies in the fact that it is easily accessible by existing major road networks including the M1 and M3 motorways, making the development well connected to the North, South, East and West arterials in the province.
Furthermore, Attacq is not just relying on the existing transport infrastructure in the surrounding area of Waterfall, and is making large investments on new road and transport networks as part of its urban planning policy.
Urban planning is very much at the heart of the project. We have spent an extra R1 billion on infrastructure here. We have made a huge investment on roads and other related services that are required to roll out and develop the land.”
It is also hoped that Waterfall will receive a Gautrain station, with land already set aside for the potential rail development.
The location of Waterfall City and the extensive amount of urban planning associated with a development of this magnitude have been crucial as the development seeks to become a fully interweaved city that can be reached with the most convenience.
“When people arrive at Waterfall for the first time they are hugely impressed by the quality of the road network and the landscaping,” says Mackenzie.
Attacq continues to take a meticulous approach to urban planning and landscaping in Waterfall, in order to provide the most complete experience for the city’s eventual inhabitants. From the lay-out of large-scale retail centres to office developments, road networks and leisure spaces, every small detail is being considered.
“The fact that it is clean and well maintained, along with having the right security in place, is hugely important and makes it an attractive destination for people.”
Attacq’s development approach to Waterfall has followed a logical procedure so far, with the company initially focusing on mixed-use and office developments. These developments have created a desire and also a demand for people to reside in the area, ticking both leisure and work boxes of everyday life.
Now, the firm is beginning to look towards some residential and hotel developments, as the project moves into the next phase. Having successfully forged Waterfall into an attractive destination for work and play, Attacq’s next move is to craft neighbourhoods and abodes for people to live in.
Still only a quarter through the development, Attacq is progressing well with its momentous Waterfall City development. Moving into 2017, the company has perceived a number of encouraging signs in the South African business sector as it looks to build on the recent opening of the Mall of Africa.
“We are really excited about the opportunities in front of us this year and are very bullish about Waterfall. It’s destined to be put on the map and is gaining momentum very quickly,” proclaims Mackenzie.
“For us what we are trying to create here is Gauteng’s newest lifestyle city, somewhere that will become a work, play and live destination.”
With the wind firmly in its sails following the completion of several retail and office developments in the last three years, Attacq is well on its way to achieving this lofty aim.