CBD Revival

Important editor's note: The initiatives mentioned in this article are only proposals. A thorough consultation phase with a spectrum of stakeholders still needs to take place before any plans are approved. The article was unpublished on 13 December 2017 following a request from the Johannesburg Inner City Partnership (JICP). On 24 December 2017 it was republished after the release of a similar article on BusinessTech.

For many years, the heritage community in Johannesburg has been searching for a smart tool that can alert property owners up front whether or not they need to follow heritage processes before carrying out any work. This Heritage Month, I am happy to announce that such a tool has arrived with the launch of The Heritage Register (click here to view).

The news that the Ornico Group has moved its headquarters from a prime Sandton address to the Joburg CBD is making waves in heritage and property circles. Over the past year, the company has been refurbishing the historic Natal Bank Building and in recent weeks over 100 employees have moved in. This is a major psychological boost for the ongoing revival of the historic heart of Johannesburg.

 

Over the last few months, Mayor Herman Mashaba has been communicating his vision for accelerating the rejuvenation of Johannesburg's inner city. He has met with business people and property developers and challenged them to turn the CBD into a construction site. He has committed to tackle corruption and improve the enforcement of the city's by-laws. He has said all the right things about harnessing heritage sites and reusing old buildings. As a result inner city enthusiasts (and I'm sure many residents and workers as well) are feeling a new wave of optimism.

[Originally published in June 2015]. By the end of the first quarter of 2016 work on the landmark Stuttafords Building on the corner of Rissik and Pritchard Streets in central Johannesburg should be complete. The building is being transformed from abandoned retail space into upmarket residential units (approximately 120). We are ecstatic that this project is underway after a series of false dawns in the last few years.

Pritchard Street is one of Johannesburg’s iconic streets. For many decades, the most prestigious shops in the city craved a Pritchard Street address and shoppers came from all over South Africa to marvel at the latest goods and fashions from around the world. By the 1970s, the rise of suburban malls saw a major shift in shopping patterns with upmarket customers abandoning the historic retail district. This shift in buying behaviour led to the closure of landmark department stores such as John Orrs and Stuttafords.

[Originally published in September 2015] Last week Jacques Stoltz reported that the massive Gauteng Provincial Government Precinct (Kopanong Precinct) may finally be moving ahead. The project involves the 'rehabilitation, development and management' of twenty-one buildings in the historic heart of Johannesburg at a projected cost of R5 billion. This is certainly exciting news but what is more exciting for us is that this is just one (by far the biggest of course) of many projects transforming the CBD.

After many years of depressing headlines there is finally some good news for the Germiston Carnegie Library. The following fascinating piece has been compiled by Nicholas Clarke, the heritage consultant on the project. [Originally published 13 October 2014]

Named after the appeal judge, Sir James Rose Innes, Innes Chambers is prominently positioned opposite the South Gauteng High Court on Pritchard Street, in the heart of the Johannesburg CBD. Originally the offices of the Johannesburg Bar, Innes Chambers was purchased by the Department of Public Works in the early 2000’s, earmarked for redevelopment as the Johannesburg offices of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

 

[Originally published 19 July 2015]  A scale model of the proposed Kopanong Precinct was prominently on display at the Gauteng Infrastructure Investment Conference at Gallagher Estate this week. According to a project flyer distributed to attendees the project will entail the rehabilitation, development and management of twenty-one inner city buildings. The objectives of the project are:

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