BRICS Summit Sandton

The Leonardo in Sandton. Photo: Co-Arch International Architects

Sandton skyscraper: Africa’s tallest building is open for business and leisure

Move aside, Carlton Centre…The R3 billion Leonardo towers above any competition on the African continent.

BRICS Summit Sandton

The Leonardo in Sandton. Photo: Co-Arch International Architects

For the past 40 years, the Carlton Centre in the Johannesburg CBD has prided itself on being the tallest building in Africa.

New record holder, The Leonardo

It’s now lost that position following the official opening of Sandton skyscraper The Leonardo.

The Carlton Centre stands 223m tall. Prior to the completion of The Leonardo, the minaret for Djamaa el Djazaïr, the Great Mosque of Algiers, was the tallest structure in Africa at 275m.

The new record holder stretches 234m into the Johannesburg skyline.

Within walking distance of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), the building is set to be the headquarters of some of Africa’s biggest companies. And to be a landmark of Sandton City, which is one of the continent’s most premier shopping malls. 

Initially opened in 1972 as a hotel owned by Anglo American, the Carlton Centre now serves as the headquarters of state port and rail company Transnet.

Opening almost three decades later, The Leonardo shows how times and lifestyles have changed.

Mixed-use development

The 55-storey Leonardo is a mixed-use development that offers luxury residential units in the form of apartments and penthouse suites, as well as more than 15 000 square metres of premium office space.

It also houses a business and conference centre and other amenities, such as a gym and spa, restaurants, a lifestyle and recreation zone, as well as a Montessori pre-school and room service.

Having opened on the 1 March 2020, guests can now start using the building’s facilities, such as the high-end Aurum restaurant.

Sky-high prices

According to Business Insider, The Leonardo has 260 apartments, including The Leonardo Suite – a three-storey penthouse suite at the top, measuring almost 3 000 square metres. It has an asking price for of about R250 million, but it has yet to sell.

Now the leader of Africa’s tallest buildings, The Leonardo is trailed by structures in Kenya and Nigeria.

Britam Tower is a commercial building in Nairobi owned by the British-American Investments Company (Britam). The skyscraper has a height of 195m, with 32 usable floors. It currently ranks as the tallest building in Kenya and is home to financial institutions, diplomatic missions, private companies and multinational corporations.

Located in Lagos, NECOM House is a 32-storey building that serve as the headquarters of NITEL. The communications spire at the top of the tower serves as a lighthouse beacon for Lagos Harbour.

At the time when it was completed in 1979, it was the tallest building in West Africa.