Orlando Towers Estate expected to empower Soweto residents to invest in property

The home loan origination partner of the groundbreaking Orlando Towers Estate development says the new estate planned for “the heart of Soweto” will empower local residents to invest in property and their community.

“We thought about how we can bring new jobs to the area and encourage people in Soweto to invest in their own property and see valuable returns,” says MortgageMarket CEO  Tim Akinnusi.

“We wanted to create an affordable housing product that is no different from any development in Fourways or Morningside.”

Read: Understand land use regulations before ‘repurposing’ your house

Speaking to Moneyweb, Akinnusi says the estate provides a path to black wealth creation.

“We want the people of Soweto to occupy the estate,” he says. “Orlando Towers Estate is for [those] people who typically move away from the area after getting into better financial situations.”

The estate is intended to transform the area into an economic growth node, and is expected to facilitate the reimagining of Soweto as a city with a rich history and capable of development, he adds.

“That is what Maponya Mall was about [when it opened several years ago]. We’re picking up where that left off.”

Lifestyle apartments

Commenting on the popularisation of lifestyle apartments, Akinnusi says the development has been in the works for years and that the developers, Urban Dev Property Development, intended to prioritise people’s experiences above profits.

The development is located less than 4km from Maponya Mall, and 2km from Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, Bara Mall and the University of Johannesburg’s Soweto Campus.

Read: Tributes pour in for black business doyen Richard Maponya

The estate, which will eventually have 2 800 two- and three-bedroom apartments, will feature biometric access, a football pitch, childrens’ play areas, braai pods, a clubhouse facility, fibre network, resident parking bays and gas utilities.

The starting price is R670 575 for a two-bedroom apartment.

Akinnusi says that since the launch of the estate a month ago, it has already sold more than 50 units for the first release.

“We’ll be building the units in phases and expect the first phase to be completed by the middle of next year. Other phases will follow thereafter.”

Financing partners

Akinnusi says investors are a collective of private sector companies, with FNB having recently come on board as a funding partner.

“On the end-user side, all the banks are supporting end-user access to buy the units. Nedbank is one of the key housing end-user financing partners.”

Norman Ntabane, executive director at JSE-listed Raubex, the construction company responsible for the development, says the project is destined to play a major role in South Africa’s economic recovery.

“As the country moves towards a post-Covid era, property and construction will be a key driver [in] uplifting the South African economy and building communities by providing affordable, modern and good quality housing.”

Read: Raubex appoints Felicia Msiza as its new CEO

Listen to Fifi Peters speaking to Akinnusi about the development:

Nondumiso Lehutso is a Moneyweb intern.

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