Inside Johannesburg’s Massive Inner-City Rejuvenation Project

Across the globe, inner cities are being rejuvenated to create areas where people can live, work and play. In Johannesburg, many upgrades are being planned for the city’s colourful CBD.

In October 2018, the City of Joburg mayor, Herman Mashaba, pledged assistance from senior city officials to fast-track the redevelopment of Johannesburg inner city’s eastern part. The area stretches from the Absa Towers to Maboneng and R2-billion has been pledged by the Divercity Urban Property Fund for the upgrades.

Between the Absa Towers and Mabonent is string of six blocks, known as “Jewel City”. Many years ago, the major gold and diamond companies occupied this space, but the blocks have been unoccupied for many years.

Besides the pedestrianisation of the precinct and public open spaces, upgrade plans include 1 500 residential units, retail units, commercial properties and a gym. 

The City of Johannesburg also launched a prospectus of properties for redevelopment on 1 April 2018. Most of the properties consist of large portions of land in areas including Houghton, Rosebank, Orange Grove, Randburg, and Wynberg. 

The hope is for the city to transform into a massive construction site where the private sector will be able to share the City’s vision of turning the inner city into an exclusive, vibrant space. Mixed-use developments, affordable housing and student accommodation are some of the planned properties for the land.

According to Musa Makhunga of the City of Joburg Property Company, more than 500 properties have been identified for rejuvenation, but they can not all be released at once. The prospectus of properties marks the third phase of the rejuvenation project.

The TUHF, which offers commercial property development finance in South Africa, has already played a key role in urban development in the country. The organization has financed 34 000 over the past 16 years and it has a book value of R3,1-billion. 

“We are working with a number of people in the sector in terms of transformation. at least 30 percent of the construction value of the developments will go to SMMEs in the area. We are guided by the law and we would like to push it beyond that. We are transformative but we don’t want to give properties to people who won’t be able to transform them,” Makhunnga told the

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