Inner-city property deal to regenerate Joburg's East

It is common knowledge that the rapid urban sprawl that has occurred in South Africa over the past 50 years or so can't continue unabated.

It makes no economic sense having people live further and further away from their place of work.  The cost (and waste of time) in transport, the difficulty of creating public transport, the increased costs of conveying infrastructure (water, sanitation, electricity) over distances are all arguments for densification of our cities in South Africa.

Not only have I (FREQUENTLY) made this argument on this Blog but it is also a well recognised fact among the Planning Departments of our municipalities.  A glance at the Spatial Planning of our municipalities confirms this.  The article below deals with inner city housing and one project among many in Joburg.

As part of my work I am required to go to the Deeds Office in the Pretoria city centre several times a week.  The projects there have not been heralded as much as the Joburg projects but a stroll along the streets reveals that a large amount of former office space has been converted into housing.

Gareth Shepperson
Commercial and Property Attorney

Inner-city property deal to regenerate Joburg's East

The declining eastern part of the Joburg CBD is set for a major boost with the acquisition of two new buildings that will see the extension of the successful Maboneng project.

Two landmark multistorey buildings - Access City and Hallmark Towers - have been bought by Propertuity, developers of Maboneng.

The deal has been labelled the biggest inner-city property transaction in more than 10 years.

The two buildings are the largest on the eastern side of the CBD and have a collective area of 75 000m They are partially filled with tenants, with Hallmark Towers, a 17-storey building, being made up of tenants involved mainly in light industrial manufacturing - mostly clothing.

The founder and chief executive of Propertuity, Jonathan Liebmann, said the two buildings would become icons on the Joburg city skyline.

They would connect Maboneng to other areas that are being upgraded on the northern and eastern sides of the city, he said.

'Their massive cumulative size will provide a huge base from which Maboneng can grow significantly north towards our important neighbours at Ellis Park and the University of Johannesburg.

'Both buildings will be key contributors to the recently legislated New Doornfontein CID (city improvement district), which will ensure that the previously degenerated area will become clean, safe and well managed,' he said.

The deal was funded in partnership with Nedbank Corporate Property Finance.

In another move set to boost the area, Futuregrowth Asset Management and Trust for Urban Housing Finance (TUHF), a group that lends money to the disadvantaged, has agreed to provide joint funding of R200m, split 70/30 respectively, for further development in Maboneng.

Futuregrowth will be the primary funder in this partnership, but will utilise TUHF's on-the-ground management expertise to oversee building refurbishments and upgrades.

Liebmann said: 'Our philosophy is to create diverse offerings within the neighbourhood and provide an opportunity for entrepreneurs to start new businesses, which, in turn, will generate more employment.'

TUHF has financed about 18 000 low-cost housing units in inner cities. TUHF Group mortgage manager Roselyn Valloo says affordable housing is in demand but young, sophisticated urban professionals are also attracted by the vibrant energy and buzz of these new neighbourhoods.

The Star


Denny Crane

Denny Crane
It's not me ... yet. Denny Crane from the TV series Boston Legal. Click on picture if you're not sure who he is!