R30m for inner-city flats
PROPERTY developer Alfonso Botha is building two of the most expensive penthouses in the country — placing Joburg’s inner city back on the international property map.

The palatial 800m² flats, which are still under construction, have already caught the attention of a number of foreign investors prepared to splash out the R30-million price tag.

One potential buyer includes US millionaire football star Randall Cunningham.

Botha said the double-volume penthouses in The Franklin on the corner of Diagonal and Pritchard streets “will boast everything that money can buy”.

The developer, who owns the property company Urban Ocean, is spending more than R10-million on building each of the penthouses.

Estate agents in the inner city said this week the two properties would probably be Joburg’s most expensive flats.

The Manhattan-style Michelangelo Towers in Sandton sold its three-level penthouse for R23-million.

Botha and his business partner, Duan Coetzee, say the plans for their two properties include platinum-plated taps, a private spa, a gymnasium, a rooftop swimming pool and even a heli-pad.

Special glass walls will give the buyer a view of most of Joburg.

“No expenses are being spared,” said Botha.

The partners, who founded Urban Ocean three years ago, have snapped up almost 20 buildings in the inner city’s financial district and poured in millions to convert them into luxury apartments and lofts.

Their clients include TV personality Ashley Taylor and businesswoman Wendy Luhabe, the wife of Gauteng Premier Mbhazima Shilowa.

Luhabe has reportedly bought a flat in Urban Ocean’s oldest and grandest building, Corner House in Commissioner Street.

Although Botha declined to reveal how much Luhabe had paid, a neighbouring loft is valued at over R1.7-million.

“It’s phenomenal ... When we first started out three years ago, people thought we were mad investing in the inner city, but now we’re struggling to keep up with the demand,” said Botha.

The 15 off-plan flats in the Corner House were sold out in two weeks and The Franklin, which boasts 150 units, has only 10 left.

The Franklin will boast a wellness centre, gym, squash court, swimming pool and room service. Botha said he was confident that the penthouses would be sold within a month or two after completion.

Estate agents in Joburg’s northern suburbs this week said they were stunned by the prices of the penthouses.

Article by: Simpiwe Piliso - www.sundaytimes.co.za