• Building success

    Giuseppe Plumari, CEO of Steyn City Properties, on the landmark development that has elevated lifestyle living

    Building success

    Is Steyn City a blueprint for shaping a model, all-inclusive, luxury lifestyle living concept? Possibly, especially when you consider the underlying reasons for its development, says Giuseppe Plumari, CEO of Steyn City Properties. An 800 ha parkland residence – centrally located in Midrand, between Johannesburg and Pretoria, in the Gauteng province of South Africa – Steyn City, as a concept on paper, seemed a pipe-dream at first … that is, until 2015, when the vision became a reality.

    What was absolutely clear at the launch was that Steyn City Properties had delivered on its promise to build a ‘city’ like no other. It was recently listed as one of the Top 10 lifestyle estates in the world by New World Wealth and is broadly acknowledged as something special, unique and pioneering.

    What makes this estate so notable is how the developers addressed the concept of ‘lifestyle living’, which is systemically challenging to understand, as the frame of reference is based on existing social prints of how we live. Segregated suburbs and estates tend to classify or ‘box’ a community, and can even define the society that lives within them. Yet lifestyles aren’t static; they change with societal growth and dynamisms. And, of course, aspirations also change with individual growth.

    To develop a new ‘social-living print’ is no mean feat because, as Plumari says, ‘homeowners today, whether they realise it or not, have to balance their needs of work-family-play with their environment, and this is why the vast parklands of Steyn City work so effectively’.

    Terms such as ‘all-inclusive’, ‘lifestyle value’ and ‘health and safety wellness’ have been catered for with world-class leisure facilities.

    A Nicklaus-design championship golf course with an award-winning clubhouse; an equestrian centre; outdoor fitness zones; children’s play nodes, including a Dino park, skate park and soccer fields for teens; a well-lit 45 km promenade to jog along, day or night; a 50 km mountain bike track; tennis courts; resort-style swimming pools and an indoor aquatic centre; landscaped and natural green belts and parks; engaging and interactive land art; and eateries.

    ‘For convenience there is an on-site school campus, an AAA-grade office park and, elevating the security aspect, premium 24/7 security and biometric vehicle tagging, to mention but a few of the vast array of essential amenities,’ says Plumari. ‘And all this contained within a boundary that is home to endemic fauna and flora now nestled in restored and maintained parklands, rooting a million trees and shrubs.’

    The home types are delivered across a variety of price points, including standalones built on freehold properties, clusters and resort-style apartments, to cater to a wide audience who are drawn to the attainable, secure and maintenance-free environment that Steyn City presents.

    Evidence of its popularity is that land prices throughout the parklands have increased in value by up to 50% since opening in 2015, says Plumari. And now, with a further infrastructure investment of ZAR5.5 billion, the City Centre and new luxe facilities have escalated the pull factor.

    ‘City Centre has redefined the concept of luxury apartment living,’ he says. ‘This is not the traditional precinct of solid-concrete towers.’ It has been based on village-living, evidenced by 38 small apartment buildings sprawling down a hillside and clustered around tree-greened piazzas, which in time will be lined with bespoke restaurants and shops to create a community space where people can socialise. The second tranche of investment also includes ultra-luxe facilities, a helistop and a 300m lagoon.

    Plumari explains that City Centre’s Phase 1 presents 187 apartments ready for occupation in August 2022, and which are ‘in a league of their own’, not least because they stand in stark contrast to the traditional African school of thought that apartments are a stop-gap on the way to owning a larger home.

    ‘These are intentionally designed to be a forever home,’ says Plumari. ‘They appeal equally to families and executives who enjoy a secure, cosmopolitan and superior lifestyle, as well as those who need a pied-à-terre while visiting Johannesburg on business.’

    It’s also somewhat of a strategic move at the top-end of the market where, in the wake of the coronavirus, apartment living has gained in popularity, given the work-from-home scenario and the shedding of maintenance-heavy properties. Priorities are shifting and evolving to engage more with neighbourhoods and how they support lifestyle desires.

    ‘We’ve taken the convenience concept of apartment living to new heights by introducing the spaciousness typically enjoyed in free-standing homes so that families can opt to spend more time living and less maintaining. Few apartment developments in the country offer as much space and comfort,’ says Plumari, regardless of the number of bedrooms or configuration. ‘Premium fittings include high ceilings, wide doorways, double-glazing and air conditioning, Blu-line kitchen cabinetry integrated with Gaggenau appliances and gas hobs, and bathrooms fitted with Kohler sanitaryware.’

    Resident parking is off-street in a ‘super’ basement space filled with natural light, which is sited above the service and delivery portal and refuse chutes. A back-up generator kicks in to offset the country’s load-shedding regime, and further adding to the feel of a 7-star resort are treed courtyard spaces, individual lift cores and a front-desk service.

    A few steps away is the new 300m lagoon, lapping against seaside-esque facilities that include water slides, pedalos, SUP boarding, kayaking, volleyball parks, a beach-style kiosk and sandy beach vibes. The new development also hosts the ultimate in first-class amenities within a residential estate – a helistop managed in partnership with Ultimate Heli for residents who require quick flights to destinations.

    People’s expressions of happiness correlate with, among other things, a level of trust and safety, social ties, education, health and meaningful employment.

    When a community is organised to provide for their overall well-being – which includes access to a variety of facilities and services, and a social network – they are empowered to elevate their quality of life within and externally of their immediate living environment.

    This is why Steyn City extends its community spirit even deeper, with consideration given to the neighbouring Diepsloot, from which Steyn City draws its labour.

    ‘Our commitment to upliftment among this densely populated township includes job creation, skills development, an artists’ mentoring programme, and our annual flagship Delivering Happiness to Diepsloot initiative, now in its 10th year, which benefits primary school children.’ Last November some 12 500 Diepsloot learners received school bags filled with a variety of stationery, treats and other essentials.

    Plumari, who spends much of his time on-site, is constantly attuned to the needs of all involved with Steyn City. His vision never stops expanding and, because he is so hands-on within the development, he’s constantly engaged with those needs, be that of residents or employees.

    ‘In a time-pressed world, we strive to provide the one thing money can’t buy – the ultimate luxury, which is time,’ says Plumari. ‘Time savings at Steyn City are spent with families or participating in healthy activities. Our focus is to constantly cater for “time” by providing our promised tailored responses. And we always deliver what we promise.’

    At what point does Steyn City stop growing? ‘It doesn’t,’ says Plumari. ‘Our stated aim is to be recognised as the very best lifestyle estate in the world, creating a blueprint for all other developments.

    ‘We have also openly declared that we will not stop our efforts to improve and enhance our offering until we have achieved this goal.’

    By Kerry Dimmer
    Image: Marc Shoul