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Sandton skyscraper launch date under wraps, but it's officially Africa's tallest building

The luxury apartment and retail skyscraper in Sandton is now Africa's tallest building.
The luxury apartment and retail skyscraper in Sandton is now Africa's tallest building.
Image: Freddy Mavunda/FM

The official launch of The Leonardo, Sandton's tallest building, is still under wraps - for now.

The 55-floor glass-and-concrete Leonardo development is expected to be completed by the third quarter of this year.

The luxury development has made it hard to miss for those travelling around Sandton.

Once completed, it will stand at a height of 234m in the financial hub of the country.

This is 11m taller than the Carlton Centre, which is 223m tall, followed by Ponte Tower at 172.8m.

The building, valued at about R3bn, is expected to offer a mix of residential and commercial space.

It also offers a hotel, a small retail section, 200 apartments and 15,000m² of office space.

Patrick McInerney, director at Co-Arc International Architects, said on Thursday the highest point of the building was erected on Friday last week.

When asked why the building was built when the economic and political climates were tenuous, McInerney referred to "equally hard times" in the early 1990s when Nelson Mandela Square was built.

"Even in difficult times, you can do amazing things. The fact that they've largely sold out the whole project demonstrates that if you have the right product and the right way to do things, you can achieve extraordinary things."

Legacy Group, which will run the building and operate the luxury rental-pool apartments, believes The Leonardo has changed Sandton's skyline.

"It is the tallest building in Africa. It is a beacon of hope and it shows that there is still faith in SA. It shows that SA is still a place to invest in," sales director for the group, Gijs Foden, said. 

Business Times reported in January that one-bedroom apartments of 70m² start at about R3.5m, and the penthouses will sell for about R60m.

With a tough market in recent years, McInerney believes they have successfully gone against the grain.

"There are not many projects that have started with the first phase, second phase, third phase and a fourth and finally seeing it to completion. The vast majority of projects have not been completed," he said.

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