J.T. Ross Development Director, Grant Smith, is confident that Rydall Views, which he describes as an architecturally striking 2 500m2 contemporary office block which has large working space and lends itself to an interactive open plan office is the company’s “best ever” building in KwaZulu-Natal.
Although a number of green buildings have already been constructed in the precinct, this will be the first in the La Lucia Ridge Office Estate itself. Formal accreditation is expected to come through by February next year.
The building’s green status is determined by a number of features applicable to air conditioning, lighting, climate control, landscaping and recycling. The inclusion of a bicycle shed is intended to promote alternative, healthy transport to work. In addition, according to Smith, a turn stile leading out on to Douglas Saunders Drive will provide easy access to major transport routes.
Smith believes that there will be an increasing demand for environmentally friendly green buildings within up market areas such as Umhlanga. “In time, tenants will become more critical of buildings that aren’t environmentally friendly. Green buildings will ultimately become the norm and, as a provider of office accommodation that matches global standards and appeals to blue chip tenants, we are poised to deliver more projects of this nature. The process of design and implementation of the principles needed to gain accreditation has certainly been an eye opening and exciting experience.”
“Professional firms are more conscious of supporting green buildings, newer buildings all incorporate this element. One of the elements that specifically appealed to us was the fact that the building incorporates various green features. The roof garden and use of glass panels will help with climate control. Water features make use of recycled water. Lighting will be sensor controlled,’ says new tenant, BDO’s Chief Executive, Mark Stewart.
Stewart says that, over and above expected cost savings resulting from green elements, BDO also expects its new green premises to ensure the “environmental health” and comfort of its staff.
“The new building was under construction when we were introduced via a client. We have had input into the interior layout including the design. One of the advantages is that our staff will all be accommodated on one level. The new office space is 1 200m2 which is about the same floor area as BDO occupy at our current premises,” he says.
BDO will be vacating its current premises in Ridgeside Office Estate to make way for the building’s other occupant, Edward Nathan Sonnenburg (ENS).
“As co-owners, Collins and BDO are happy to have a tenant of the calibre of ENS. In terms of our original lease with ENS, there was an option to give us notice should they want to expand their office space. This was done with effect from January 2014,” he explains.
Rydall Views is not the first J.T. Ross development in the Ridgeside area. An adjacent building, which is occupied by Adapt IT, was completed over three years ago. Smith says that, from the outset, J.T. Ross anticipated building on the vacant land behind it. He says the new development complements its predecessor. “The buildings talk to each other, there is a synergy,” he says.
To date, J.T. Ross has completed a total of 54 buildings on Umhlanga Ridge. Smith points out that it is a sound investment node that is tightly managed with a secure investment future. “From the way it was designed to how it has been implemented and run, it is a world class area and something of which Durban can be proud.”