If you’re looking for Johannesburg’s future economic hubs then keep an eye out for where the next Gautrain stations are being planned
Public and private partnerships with the local management team behind Johannesburg’s Gautrain rapid rail service are bringing economic change to the areas surrounding the city’s new, and future, stations. This is according to Rode & Associates – the Gautrain management company, property developers and property analytics experts, who say the rapid rail service has been a driver behind the new business and residential nodes such as Sandton and Rosebank in Johannesburg.
Rode & Associates CEO Erwin Rode said recently to the Sunday Times, “Given Johannesburg’s traffic situation it’s a no-brainer that properties near stations will benefit.” Rode adds that commercial rentals near the stations which were previously defunct and decaying can now charge a location premium that they weren’t able to before, uplifting properties that wouldn’t necessarily have survived further urban sprawl.
“Over a short period of time we have seen a lot happening in Sandton, a lot of big buildings going up…companies looking for new premises want to be near the Gautrain.” Says Paul Barrow, development and investment director at Barrow Properties, which developed Katherine & West opposite the Sandton Gautrain station. “It’s a good idea to densify around the stations. That’s far better than urban sprawl.
So where to next for the Gautrain? That’s not entirely sure yet, says William Dachs, chief operating officer of the Gautrain Management Agency. “Where can we now stimulate economic activity rather than take advantage of what exists? That’s what we’re trying to figure out now. Across the province we’ve identified some 40 possible station locations and we’re weighing up likely economic and socio-economic benefits like job creation in small businesses.”
“If we go to an existing node in the west of Johannesburg, like Randburg, the impact might be similar to that in Sandton or Rosebank, with some big corporates relocating there.” Dach says, but he thinks they could take a different view and go out to Cosmo City, “which is relatively small now but has potential for decades of growth. We have advisers doing feasibility studies. By the middle of this year we should have options for rapid rail stations – not necessarily run by Gautrain – that will have maximum economic impact.”