First published in the Daily Maverick, Ornico CEO, Oresti Patricios shares the thinking behind why the company moved from Sandton to the Johannesburg CBD.
I’ve made a watershed decision in the life of my company, Ornico. I have moved our headquarters from Sandton to Johannesburg’s City Centre. Several considerations guided my decision, ranging from the practical to the ideological. I have no doubt that one day, in the not too distant future, Johannesburg will feature prominently in global lists as a great place to invest in, to work in, and to live in.
I’ve been reading the Monocle Quality of Life Survey, which ranks top cities around the world in terms of “livability”. What Monocle means by “livability” is that hard-to-define quality that makes a city a desirable place to live in. What sets the list apart is that the research takes into account factors that benefit both local inhabitants and tourists. The criteria for getting a ranking also includes affordable housing, green initiatives, local public transport, the crime rate, independent book shops, a good business climate as well as more subjective issues like joy of life, human tolerance and whether the city has a thumping night life. Tokyo took the top spot for the 2016 index, followed by Berlin, Vienna, Copenhagen, Munich and Melbourne.
Japan has another two cities on the Top 25 list — namely Kyoto and Fukuoka. Australia also boasts another two in addition to Melbourne, Sydney and Auckland. But only two US cities make it onto the list: Portland, Oregon and Honolulu, Hawaii.
Sadly, Johannesburg is not on the list. Nor is any other sub-Saharan African city. The same thing with the Telegraph’s Top 20 Cities to Buy-to-let Property. And no metropolis in Africa figures amongst the “global elite” in the AT Kearney Global Cities Index and Global Cities Outlook.
My hope is that one day, in the not too distant future, Johannesburg will feature prominently as a great place to invest in, to work in, and to live in. In fact I’m more than just hoping. In 2016 I took the decision to move the my company’s head office from leafy mink-and-manure suburb of Sandton to the centre of Johannesburg’s inner city, by acquiring a national heritage site in the city.