Sandton Central: The richest square mile in Africa

Sandton Central- the financial centre of South Africa 

I personally seldom go to Sandton Central and when I do, every 3 or 4 months, I am always amazed, somewhat cynical and more than a little disillusioned by the widespread evidence of rampant consumer capitalism on steroids.  Buildings, which are often no older than 40 odd years, get torn down at an alarming rate to be replaced with higher, more opulent and more lavish structures, mostly coated in reflective glass.  I’m reminded (somewhat irreverently) of the donkey’s urgent ‘Pick me’ line in Shrek

From the ’60s to the ’80s,  my father was one of 3 partners in a well-known law firm practicing out of a ‘relatively’ low-key understated office in the old Johannesburg CBD:  no skscraper, no shimmering glass coating, no bling, no cutting edge architectural style, and certainly NO signage! I often think how he would have been aghast at the conspicuousness in size, style and signage of the 5 legal practice buildings below.  

Sandton, home to many legal firms

Norton Rose Fullbright Attorneys (merged with Deneys Reitz). Source:
Werksmans Attorneys. Source:
Webber Wentzel Attorneys. Source:
Edward Nathan Sonnenberg Attorneys. Source:
Bowman Gilfillan Attorneys. Source:

Corporate head offices in Sandton

Sandton has also become the preferred home of many accounting firms, banks, financial institutions and Discovery, South Africa’s largest private medical aid. According to the South African Property Owners Association there are 10 business nodes nationwide that account for 92% of office development currently (late 2017). Of this Sandton accounted for 31% of national office space development. 

Alexander Forbes and Ernst and Young Accountancy firms. Source:
Investec Bank. Source:
Old Mutual (Financial Services). Source:
Sasol (chemicals and energy company), Katherine St, Sandton. Sasol has consolidated 17 separate office buildings into one mega-building. Source:
Discovery Medical Aid – 87 000m2  Source:
Katherine West (mixed use urban development). Source:

And the huge development of 1, Alice Lane 

1 Alice Lance (Marsh and Standard Bank) with Norton Rose Fulright Attorneys in the background. Source:
Artist’s impression of the Marc (R2-billion, twin-towered redevelopment of the old Village Walk) set to be complete in 2019.  This  complex will contain a ground-floor retail centre, a gym and medical suites. Source : Eris Property

A regular guest here at Liz at Lancaster Guesthouse said how he loves being able to stay in the suburbs as he can go for his walk after work, there’s a sense of neighbourhood and there are local shops and restaurants within walking distance.  He says, even though his training courses have moved to a base in Sandton, his ‘WhereToStay’ is still in Craighall Park.  Thank you Russell. 




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