Africa's tallest skyscraper finally opens its doors

The Leonardo in Johannesburg. Photo: Phillip de Wet
The Leonardo in Johannesburg. Photo: Phillip de Wet

Africa’s tallest skyscraper - and one of the most exclusive hotels in Sandton, The Leonardo - finally opened its doors on Tuesday, with developers of the 234-metre tall building saying the 240-suite hotel and residences were ready for occupation.

Legacy Hotels & Resorts CEO & Chairman Bart Dorrestein said all the offices in The Leonardo are purchased and 90% of the apartments are sold.

"Our owners are scheduled to take occupation on a phased basis commencing March 2020," he said.

The Leonardo, which is within walking distance of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and retail hubs of Sandton, was developed by the Legacy Group, in partnership with the Nedbank Corporate and Investment Banking unit. The R3-billion skyscraper project began in 2015, when the Legacy Group awarded the construction contract to Aveng, and actual construction began in January 2016. Already, 50 of the 240 apartments had been sold off plan when construction began.

The project suffered delays, however, which have become a source of conflict between Aveng and The Legacy Group. In January this year, the developer removed Aveng from The Leonardo contract, but the construction firm maintains that the building was "practically complete at the point of termination" and has taken the matter to the adjudicator.

The Leonardo in Johannesburg. Photo: Phillip de We

Photo: Phillip de Wet

Dorrestein said the opening of The Leonardo would give luxury lifestyle living a new address. The hotel boasts various eateries, as well as nine state-of-the-art conferencing venues and meeting rooms. Apart from the usual hotel facilities, it also has a Montessori pre-school.

"There is no reason to leave. We purpose-built The Leonardo to ensure all guests, whether they are staying with us, or just visiting, have everything they need at one address, and that’s ours," said Dorrestein.

He added that given the uncertain economic climate in South Africa, The Leonardo served as the Legacy Group’s vote of confidence in the country’s future.

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