Location meets luxury
If you’re looking for a high-end lifestyle a short commute from a central Joburg address, it doesn’t get much more desirable than The Houghton
More and more South Africans are opting for apartment living. Statistics South Africa reported that in 2016, for every 100 plans approved for residential units, 59 were for flats and 33 were for townhouses. In 2013, for every 100 approved plans only 26 were for flats and 25 for townhouses.
At the high end of the market, prospective apartment buyers would be looking for space, luxurious finishes and ample amenities, coupled with breathtaking locations. On Cape Town’s Atlantic Seaboard these are easy to come by,if you have the cash. Luxury and space are easier to find in Johannesburg, but location is tricky.
This is why a nearly complete development in Johannesburg’s Houghton suburb – named The Houghton – is attracting attention. The location is ideal: away from the hubbub and traffic of the Sandton and Rosebank CBDs yet within an easy commute, and close to the city’s top independent schools and colleges.
A LIFE OF LEISURE
Overlooking the Jack Nicklaus-designed Houghton Golf Club, The Houghton offers residents views across the treetops all the way to Sandton and on a clear day the distant high-rises of Pretoria. Looking east, the vista stretches as far as OR Tambo International Airport. A view is only as good as the quality of the vantage point, and this is where The Houghton comes into its own. Developed in five phases – this was necessary to ensure working capital after the global economic crisis of 2008 – each of the first four phases comprises between 60 and 80 units. They range from three-bedroom apartments starting at R7.9 million to five-bedroom, three-storey apartments for R84 million.
The penthouse suites set the bar luxuriously high. Aside from the expansive rooms (the master Bedroom can accommodate an additional lounge area) and the add-on two-bedroom cottage, they feature a cinema room, a gym, two levels of roof garden with swimming pool, jacuzzi, braai area, steam shower and two entertainment levels. They come fully integrated with top-of-the-range kitchen appliances and sound system.
ROOM TO BREATHE
All these features have not been crammed into limited floor space. The Houghton is all about spacious existence. Every living area has been designed to give residents a feeling of openness. Wraparound windows and balconies accommodate views stretching into the distance. Interiors are capacious — the penthouses have triple-volume halls. Kitchens open to entertainment areas, en-suite bathrooms are separated from bedrooms by foldaway screens, and entertainment areas are abundant. The ground-floor units have gardens with a pool and a Jacuzzi. All units take advantage of the development’s service features, which include high-end security systems with fingerprint access and 24-hour camera monitoring from a control room. A concierge desk will ensure residents’ shopping or parcels are brought to their unit. A generator and 600 000 L of water storage will take care of any outages. “When the units first came on to the market, they were selling at roughly R26 000/m2, priced against similar residential developments above shopping centres, which were selling at R45 000 m2,” says David Nagle, the Irish developer and investor in The Houghton. “Prices have exceeded our expectations given the demand.” He says the specifications have continually been upgraded to present a premium product. “It is now enjoying higher prices per square metre rates than apartments at premium shopping centres, where prices have remained static.”
LIVING THE BRAND
Units are available in the final phase. This includes a luxury penthouse suite on one end of the building, allowing for wraparound balconies. Nagle says a large number of buyers are residents upscaling or converting from renters to owners. Residents living at The Houghton say it feels like being on holiday, a sentiment echoed by David. “Essentially, once you’ve lived here, where else could you go?” This approach has been embraced by The Houghton’s management team, many of whom live in the development. “We’re living it and we believe in it,” David says. Although each phase has sold out rapidly, the team believes that demand will be unprecedented once the hotel has been completed.
With the space, views, luxury and services The Houghton offers, it seems unlikely this is an exaggeration.
On their own, the first four phases of The Houghton are enough to satisfy the most discerning buyers, but when the fifth phase comes into play (planned for late 2018) residents will find themselves in an unparalleled live-work-play destination. Phase five is The Houghton Hotel, part of The Leading Hotels of The World 5 Star Group. It will be closely integrated with the rest of the development. The hotel will have 61 suites, three business lounges, conferencing for 600 in conference seating and 280 in banquet seating, a slow lounge for guests on their way to the airport, a spa, hair and beauty salon, a private gym, resort pool, sky bar and dining options that include a deli that will offer guests and residents meals delivered to their rooms or homes. “The hotel, a noteworthy guest destination in its own right, will expand the vision of The Houghton into something like a private club where residents live, exercise, luxuriate and are entertained, all within the property,” says developer David Nagle. Residents already have automatic social membership of the Houghton Golf Club and full membership is offered at a discounted rate. Investors will also find a compelling proposition in the hotel itself, with only 10 remaining hotel investor suites available for purchase. The luxury hotel will be in demand by international companies looking for secure, central, quality and short-term stays for their executives.