Discovery raises eyebrows with R2.5bn sustainable global Head Office

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Artist’s impression of Discovery global headquarters in Sandton, on the corner of Rivonia Road and Katherine Street, diagonally opposite Sandton City. Artist’s impression of Discovery global headquarters in Sandton, on the corner of Rivonia Road and Katherine Street, diagonally opposite Sandton City.

Stewart Property

SA’s private medical aid scheme and life assurance group, Discovery is progressing on its new environmentally-sustainable global headquarters office development in Sandton at a cost more than R2.5 billion.

The 87,000sqm head office development will be situated at the gateway to Sandton Central, on the corner of Rivonia Road and Katherine Street, diagonally opposite Sandton City and a short block’s walk away from the Sandton Gautrain Station.

The building will comprise two wings with eight floors of offices plus a ground floor and a feature roof level. It will also offer nine basements with over 5,100 parking bays.

Office rental vacancies in Sandton has surged to a 10-year high of 14,2%, according to a report released by the South African Property Owners Association (Sapoa). New developments in Sandton have increased sharply over the past two to three years, particularly around the Gautrain station. The bulk of the vacancies are in these state-of-the-art new buildings.

The Sapoa report notes that over the past 12 months alone, the amount of unlet prime space has increased from 2000m² to 54000m² — and the figures show about 258000m² of office space under construction or in the pipeline in Sandton.

Discovery's head office is a joint venture between two property companies, Growthpoint Properties Limited owning 55% and Zenprop Property Holdings having 45%.

According to the owners, its the largest single commercial office development in Africa, and is also one of the most innovative.

The building has been designed to incorporate sustainable green building features and accredited rating of five stars.

Growthpoint Properties Office Division Director Rudolf Pienaar says: “The office is set to become a landmark on the Sandton skyline. Green building plays a key role in providing spaces in which businesses can thrive.”

Earthworks for the development are already well underway, with the old Sandton Garden Court Hotel buildings and other buildings which previously stood on the site having been demolished.

Zenprop Property Holdings CEO, James Tannenberger, said the iconic building consist of two wings and the design would allow a phased approach to grow the headquarters as Discovery continues to expand operations.

The head office will serve as the company’s hub for the growing international business that now has operations in South Africa, the US, UK, Australia and Asia-Pacific. It will bring all of Discovery’s more than 5,000 Sandton-based employees under one roof in Sandton, instead of the current situation, where employees are work across four buildings in the Sandton CBD.

Discovery is expected to take occupation on 1 January 2018.


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