ROOTED IN THE FOREST
Category Property News
Well established and with a fair bit of history, this suburb on Joburg's green belt has sweeping views, attracting young and vibrant residents insider's guide to... Forest Town.
Forest Town was originally a manmade forest starting at Parktown Ridge north. Today it is a soughtafter area just 0,64km2 in size alongside upmarket Saxonwold and on the side of Westcliff ridge. Many of the homes in secure streets have wonderful views. "Oldies" or homes in the heritage bracket with character features, can fetch between R3.75 million and R4.5m; renovated homes have sold in excess of R10m. Forest Town has its fair share of history. It was well known as the scene of a high profile raid on a party in 1966 which resulted in the Immorality Amendment Bill of 1967; in 2005, the Forest Town home of president Jacob Zuma was raided by the Scorpions to obtain documents for his alleged corruption trial. "Forest Town is one of Joburg's hidden gems, fast becoming popular with younger buyers," says Beverley Gurwicz, area specialist for Lew Geffen Sothebys International. "It is attracting the young and vibrant sector. Many people are unaware of its sweeping views across Johannesburg." Although a relatively small enclave, it is an established neighbourhood with progressive architecture that, like Westcliff, continues to thrive. "Properties remain in high demand because of the existence of the good private schooling. These include St John's College, Roedean School SA, The Ridge School and St Katharine's School in Parktown. "I am also getting a lot of inquiries from people interested in the German School (Deutsche Schule) and the ever popular Jan Celliers in Parkview." Forest Town is an ecological node, being within 5km of several golf courses and set along the green lung of Zoo Lake. It is close to Rosebank and the Joburg CBD with top hospitals nearby. "Rosebank is significant as it is a financial hub, and is also ideally located for doctors working at nearby hospitals and for academics at Wits and the University of Johannesburg," says Gurwicz. Previously unkempt properties along Jan Smuts Avenue have been tastefully turned into smaller office blocks; other places of interest include a new Holocaust museum. The Holocaust and Genocide Educational Centre, which opened last July, was originally the Bernberg Museum of Fashion and belonged to the city — the Bernberg sisters bequeathed it, says founder and director, Tali Nates. Sponsorships helped build the impressive building, designed in keeping with the theme. "The centre has roving exhibits and a permanent exhibition and focuses on global issues of genocide; many school children visit us."
Author: Lew Geffen Sotheby's International Realty