The Carlton Centre looks set to lose its crown as the tallest building in Africa when the 55-floor glass-and-concrete Leonardo development is completed later this year. It will stand at a height of 234m — 11m taller than the Carlton. But while the sheer scale of the development has been widely lauded, its aspirations to aesthetic grandeur have drawn mixed reviews. There’s no doubt The Leonardo is an ambitious commercial development. The building, which will be valued at about R3bn, occupies prime real estate on Maude Street, a stone’s throw from the JSE. It is set to offer a mix of residential and commercial space: 200 apartments, 15,000m² of office space, a hotel and a small retail section. If the penthouse occupying floors 53-55 is sold at its R250m asking price, it will go down as the most expensive sectional title property ever sold in SA. Henning Rasmuss, a founder and director at Paragon Architects, says it’s "amazing" that a mixed-use development of this size is being assembl...

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