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Johannesburg Discussion.

Enjoy!
 

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Construction sector drives Gauteng

The boom in the construction industry is expected to gather pace, fuelling a rise in skills and a decline in inner city vacancy rates.

June 4, 2007

By Ndaba Dlamini

VACANCY rates in the inner city of Johannesburg are dropping, largely because of the boom in construction and peripheral industries in Gauteng.

This is the view of property economist Francois Viruly, who was speaking at a breakfast meeting organised by the Gauteng Business Barometer (GBB) and Standard Bank in Germiston on Tuesday, 29 May.

Viruly said the property market in the Johannesburg CBD was getting more competitive by the day because of a robust construction industry. In April activity levels in the province were nearly 20 percent higher than in the same month last year.

"The availability of A Grade office space in the city centre has declined from 1,2-million square metres in 1996 to 700 000m2 in 2007. A significant number of building plans have been approved by the council, translating into quite a number of building projects going up in the inner city. These include industrial, office and retail space."

This positive development was the result of high levels of confidence exhibited by investors towards the inner city, Viruly added. Inner city housing was a sector that had good potential to turnaround the fortunes of the inner city. "Local government, however, should come to the party for this sector to develop adequately."

Based on the performance of the GBB for April, a unique index that measures Gauteng's economic activity on a monthly basis, approximately R1,2-trillion was expected to flow through the construction and related industries in the next few years, in sharp contrast to the R700-million that was spent in the past three years, according to Goolam Ballim, Standard Bank's chief economist.

The R1,2-trillion represented a composite figure that included activity in the extended supply chain of the construction industry, in the residential and commercial fields, he added.

Reiterating Ballim's statement, economist Mike Schussler said the construction industry was the strongest sector in Gauteng, growing at 18 percent year-on-year. It was also the largest employer of unskilled and semi-skilled workers in the province, he added.

"Construction, which contributes about 3,6 percent to the Gauteng economy every year, should stay robust but higher interest rates and land costs will make 2007 a slower year than 2006."

The growth of the sector was largely reflected in the rise in shopping mall construction, especially in Soweto. Viruly noted that three years ago, there was only one shopping mall in the township but by the end of this year, it would boast five big shopping malls.

In the lead up to the 2010 Fifa World Cup™ and Gautrain, there would be a boom in the construction industry. Viruly said the construction of the Gautrain was already influencing development along its route.

"The monorail has potential to see development growing along the whole axis from the Johannesburg CBD to Soweto," he added.

Turning to industrial development, Viruly said that instead of looking for greenfield sites, developers would increasingly turn to brownfield sites, which included land that had already been developed in one form or another.

"What is also starting to happen is that land in the Johannesburg area is beginning to become scarce. That scarcity of land will ultimately push up building costs and for the tenant it will translate into higher rentals."

The construction boom, however, should be matched by skills development in the industry. Schussler described the current skills shortage as "par excellence" and called on the government to start empowering construction industry workers with the necessary skills to complement the boom in the industry.

"The construction boom is an opportunity for small, medium and micro enterprises in the country to get involved in all the sectors. It is also an opportunity for construction companies from across the country's borders to enter the field," he said.
 

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i think this is just damn funny and typical denial of some niteclub owners. it brings up the same points that some owners in durban used when they faced the same problems by our council

It's a club! Oh no, it isn't!

04 Jun 2007 - Inet Bridge -

Intro
Eatery denies it's disco at night

03 June 2007
By Phindile Chauke

The owner of a top Sandton hot spot has denied running a nightclub and accused the council's legal director in court of drunkenly imagining the presence of DJ booths and dance floors.

Gregory Ioannou, owner of The Palms, a night spot at which Joburg celebrities like DJs Fresh and Sbu have performed, told the Joburg High Court that his establishment was instead an "up-market restaurant" that contravened no bylaws.

Last week, the Joburg council and Sandton residents took Ioannou to court to try to force him to stop operating a nightclub.

The city says that The Palms, which only has permission to operate as a restaurant, is running a nightclub illegally in an area not zoned for the purpose.

Neighbours say the establishment which has a cover charge at night of at least R100 and which opened last year after costing R8 million to decorate makes far too much noise.

Their lawyer, Corien Potgieter, said they had asked the court to order The Palms to stop serving drinks without meals to patrons who, they say, urinate in their gardens.

A neighbour, who asked not to be named, said in his affidavit before court:

"A further nuisance is caused by patrons using Linden Road for parking, talking loudly, hooting and playing loud music on their car radios when they leave. Recently.

I observed a patron of The Palms urinating into my garden through my front gate."

"Both Ioannou and the company that owns the building that houses The Palms, Sandton Isle Limited, were taken to court by the city. Judgment was reserved.

After numerous complaints by residents, the council sent its legal services acting director, James Rammala, last May and June to check whether The Palms was a nightclub operating in contravention of town planning rules.

Rammala said in court papers that he heard loud music and observed a "variety of disco lights", a "disc jockey booth" and a "demarcated area for use as a dance floor".

Rammala said The Palms was a restaurant and corporate function venue by day, but by night "its identity completely changed to that of a nightclub", and he issued Ioannou a written warning to stop operating a nightclub immediately.

But Ioannou hit back in responding papers, saying that Rammala had brought three friends along to the inspection and arrived again, two weeks later, with another friend and "insisted to drink without eating and also asked for a cigar".

Ioannou claimed Rammala and his friend knocked back four double whiskeys and he was "somewhat concerned about their ability to drive, particularly since they had refused to eat anything and were somewhat intoxicated".

He said: "It is ludicrous to suggest that a council official goes about official business accompanied by a friend, not once, but twice. The denial of being intoxicated does not come as a surprise."

Rammala presented the court with photographs of The Palms, which is decorated with crystal chandeliers. The long bar serves Dom Perignon champagne at R3200 a bottle.

The Palms's website says the establishment has guest DJs on Friday and Saturday evenings, and admits to the presence of two DJ booths.

But in court papers, Ioannou says:

"There is no disc jockey booth as alleged. There is, however, a control room from which the lights and music are controlled. There is no demarcated dance floor as alleged.There is an open space that facilitates easy movement by the waiters carrying food to the various tables."

"The Palms does not operate as a place of amusement and a nightclub as alleged."

Sunday Times
 

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Radical Design For Northriding - 2007/05/31


A unique and seemingly ambitious project is underway in the suburb of Northriding, Gauteng. Its design objective is a minimalism and modern look, although the development is still in the initial stages of construction, the digital conception of the project is remarkably different from its surroundings.

Many of the sectional title developments in the area have stuck with Tuscan and Balinese designs, whereas Paperbark has incorporated professionalism into its inner city appearance. The use of industrial steel supports, expansive glass fittings and face-brick walls inject the development with metropolitan features, rather than the tell-tale signs of suburbia.

Paperbark sits on a plot of land closely neighbouring light commercial and industrial parks, however located nearby is Eagle Canyon Golf Estate. The grandeur and success of Eagle Canyon might be an indication to the potential desireability of the new development - Paperbark.

The ambitiousness of the project is detailed in its starting price units of R534 000 which includes one bedroom and one bathroom. Ian McMillan estate agent for Chas Everitt says: "the underground parking garages push up costs," nevertheless the prices still remain competitive for what is offered.

An open plan clubhouse resembles an inner city, communal square, akin to the look and feel of Melrose Arch. Departing from the traditional, simple layout of a pool and braai, the Paperbark clubhouse gives off an air of sophistication, lined with columns and centred on a swimming pool. Ultimately the area can be compared to the likes of a day spa, set in and amongst a neo-European street-café scene.

Paperbark estate consists of one or two bedroom units, 46.68 sq m and 85.55 sq m respectively. Individuals / couples opting for more space may consider the estate's loft units and studio units that will be available in five options. The customised choice of such units departs from the uniformity seen in many affordable sectional title offerings.

With regards to the loft units, Owners or renters can opt for the following design additive characteristics: increased living area and balcony; the afore-mentioned with a built-in braai; a loft with a longer balcony or a unit with a dining room balcony and lounge balcony.

Paperbark has been made available for off-plan purchase, and Ian McMillan, stated that both the north and south elevations of the development are already sold out. McMillan further added that: "we set out to target the average guy on the street; and construction is due for completion in May or June of 2008.

The Paperbark development sits near the major intersection of Witkoppen Road and Hans Strijdom Drive, and is ideally located for travelling to and from, Fourways, Midrand, Douglasdale, Randburg, Pretoria and Roodeport. An S.P.C.A is within walking distance, and the omnipresent Northgate Dome is a couple of kilometres away. Honeydew Medical Centre; Olivedale and Wilgeheuwel Private Hospitals are all close-by.

McMillan was surprised as to how many buyers and potential investors into Paperbark, kept referring to the the location's convenience. Northriding is out of the morning and afternoon traffic congestion zones of Fourways and Randburg, and people are starting to move closer to their workplaces, or vice versa. McMillan says: "people are beginning to think that way", and furthermore "young people are not interested in traffic." - James Monteiro
 

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from the property magazine, in an article on town

"The 70-year-old Barbican building (owned by Old Mutual Properties) is undergoing a R120m refurbishment and will open as an upmarket members-only private club with a car showroom, a gym, and a cigar and champagne lounge. Reports say it is due for completion at the end of 2007. The government announced its plans for the Kapoing Government Precinct more than a year ago. The area will be situated between Simmonds, Anderson and President Streets, and 17 buildings (11 heritage) will be upgraded."

 

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more news on the future of the CBD, from mayor Amos Masondos tour of the inner city on friday,

Winding up the tour on a positive note in the inner city, Masondo was briefed about the revival of the Johannesburg Sun Hotel at a cost of R20-million. The towering blue building, bounded by Jeppe and Pritchard, Smal and Von Wielligh streets, once open to the public, is expected to act as a showcase for corporate investment and a draw-card for those who want to enjoy the revival of urban life.

Already, the hotel garage and garden have been spruced up.
 

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another hot space in town is the private practice gallerey on the 19th floor of the lister building.

watch http://www.intermission.co.za for cool upcoming events.
there is a 360 view of town from the observation deck which is well worth the visit.

Some of the views...
http://www.intermission.co.za/venue.htm

All the above is from the facebook group "I love the Joburg CBD... aka Sandton sucks"
 

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I just had to...

Residents of Gauteng earn more, are better educated and are likely to live longer than people in other provinces, an SA Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) study has found.

In a report released on Tuesday, it identified "glaring inequalities" in service delivery and living conditions across the provinces.

This, it submitted, suggested a need for decentralisation of provincial authority, including a degree of autonomy over tax and labour market regulation.

Closing the gap

The move would give less developed provinces the best chance to get a competitive edge over their neighbours and close the development gap.

However, the report noted that proposals to amalgamate provinces were indicative of a policy move in the opposite direction.

It found that in 2006 Gauteng residents earned on average 300 to 400 percent more than people living in Limpopo.

It projected that by 2010 Gautengers were likely to live 20 percent longer than people in KwaZulu-Natal probably because of "the devastation of HIV/Aids".

The most educated

Gauteng also had the most educated population. The six percent of residents holding degrees was almost double the national average.

As the contributor of almost a third of gross domestic product, the province had a "firmly established" reputation as South Africa's and Africa's economic powerhouse.

This made it difficult for provinces such as North West and Limpopo to close the development gap, the study found.

Eastern Cape the worst

The worst province to live in was the Eastern Cape, according to the report, authored by Chris Kriel.

It had the lowest proportion of formal houses — just over 50 percent — and a quarter of households relied on bucket toilets.

In the North West there was a 30 percent increase in the number of households using bucket toilets between 2002 and 2005, while in the Western Cape, 31 percent of households did not have water in their homes.

The great colour divide

The report also identified "great differences" in the racial breakdown in the country's nine provinces.

Of the Western Cape's population, only 23 percent was black, as opposed to 97 percent of that in Limpopo.

It pointed out that this had implications for the implementation of black economic empowerment and affirmative action.
 

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Joburg is a city for theatre!

The Lion King starts soon, in the largest theatre in the Southern Hemisphere.
Mozart's Magic Flute will be performed in the Civic.
Rent - New Theatre in Braamfontein (refurb)
Hair - Montecassino Pieter Toerien Theatre
Hairspray in the new Goldreefcity theatre


These are all international productions that came to joburg. Clearly Johannesburg is the mayor city for the arts in South Africa. No other city comes close!
 

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Jakes1
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from the property magazine, in an article on town

"The 70-year-old Barbican building (owned by Old Mutual Properties) is undergoing a R120m refurbishment and will open as an upmarket members-only private club with a car showroom, a gym, and a cigar and champagne lounge. Reports say it is due for completion at the end of 2007. The government announced its plans for the Kapoing Government Precinct more than a year ago. The area will be situated between Simmonds, Anderson and President Streets, and 17 buildings (11 heritage) will be upgraded."

Apparently the main reason for the delays are that the steel structure of the barbican succumbed to rust - making it difficult to refurb.
 

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JHC has done incredible work concerning turning crumbling buildings into safe, affordable housing... I decided to share a bit of information concerning some of these refurbishments...

The Landrost Hotel (18F):

Occupation: 2000
Units: 241

The conversion of the Landrost Hotel was the most ambitious and even glamorous refurbishment undertaking by JHC. Once a five star hotel which hosted the rich and famous from South Africa and abroad, it had lost its shine as the area become neglected and run down, and served as a police barracks. The conversion of the 18 storey block's 400 bedrooms into 241 units was a high risk undertaking due to the high rise nature of the property and its location next to the bustling and sometimes anarchic Jack Mincer Taxi Rank and the Johannesburg Drill Hall, which had become a haven for thousands of homeless people. The project was the first conversion from a hotel into rental accommodation. Every effort was made to preserve the original finishes of this building and the original marble basins and wood panelling still exist in the units.

Lake Success (12F)
Occupation: 2002
Units: 145

Lake Success , in Hillbrow, was the first building to be acquired under the Better Buildings Programme. It had been allowed to deteriorate by its owner, and had been abandoned. The lift motors had been stolen, flat units had been vandalised, and the sewerage system was dysfunctional. The building was extremely overcrowded with up to eight tenants per bachelor flat.

Lake Success was the first building in the City of Joburg’s Better Buildings Programme to be upgraded
successfully. The job was done by JHC – a major clean-up and complete overhaul to restore the
building to a fit condition for residential accommodation. New tenants were welcomed in 2002
– another milestone in JHC’s drive towards the renewal of the inner city. Today Lake Success forms
part of the Pietersen Street eKhaya Neighbourhood Programme where JHC and neighbouring property
owners work with city agencies to keep the neighbourhood clean and safe.

Towerhill (11F)
Occupation: 1996
Units: 124

Towerhill, situated at the top of Hillbrow, combined offices and
residential accommodation when JHC bought it in 1996. The whole
building was then converted to residential use and completely upgraded.
Towerhill offers tenants a range of accommodation, from single rooms
with shared facilities to bachelor units and one-bedroom or twobedroom
apartments.

Stanhope Mansions (11F)
Occupation: 2006
Units: 133

Stanhope Mansions is a beautiful Art Deco building that dates from the 1930s. It was fully refurbished by JHC in 2005. It offers tenants a range of accommodation, from spacious one-bedroom and bachelor apartments to single rooms with shared bathroom and kitchen facilities. Stanhope has an active tenants’ committee in place, supporting a strong community spirit in the building.


Rondebosch (6F)
Occupation: 2005
Units: 76

Rondebosch was JHC's second building acquired under the better buildings programme. The building is a conversion of an old hotel, and comprises mainly single rooms with common washing facilities and ablutions. It will house JHC's first computer centre, to be managed by Makhulong a Matala.

Rondebosch, originally a hotel, was completely refurbished by JHC in 2005
and converted to meet the need for accommodation providing single rooms
with shared facilities. Communal bathrooms and kitchen areas, shared by
sets of adjoining rooms, enable JHC to keep rent rates low. Close to other
JHC buildings, such as Lake Success, Sylvadale and Cresthill, Rondebosch
forms part of the Pietersen Street eKhaya Neighbourhood Programme. In
this programme JHC and neighbouring property owners work with city
agencies to keep the neighbourhood clean and safe.

The Brickfields Project Concept (3F - 10F)
Occupation: 2005 and 2006
Units: 742

The Brickfields project, incorporating Brickfields, Legae and Phumlani, was Johannesburg inner city's first high rise development in 30 years, and is JHC's most ambitious project so far. Comprising 742 units in a mix of low rise and high rise buildings it was JHC's first exposure to high rise construction. It is JHC's largest single investment, and the first time that a consortium of financiers including government, private banks and private investors have come together in a social housing project. Brickfields was the second of JHC's projects to be opened by the South African president.

Cresthill Mansions (13F)
Occupation: July 2007
Units: 157

Cresthill is one of the City of Joburg’s Better Buildings projects that was awarded to JHC. It was completely refurbished by JHC in 2007, to restore it to good working order and provide safe, decent housing. Cresthill is part of the Pietersen Street eKhaya Neighbourhood Programme. This programme, initiated by JHC and shared by neighbouring property owners, works with city agencies to create and maintain a safe, clean neighbourhood.
 

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Jakes1
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These do not include all of the buildings refurbished by JHC, but it gives you an idea of how much work has been done, especially in the parts of the city that are suffering most from crime and grime...
 

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Joburg is a city for theatre!

The Lion King starts soon, in the largest theatre in the Southern Hemisphere.
Mozart's Magic Flute will be performed in the Civic.
Rent - New Theatre in Braamfontein (refurb)
Hair - Montecassino Pieter Toerien Theatre
Hairspray in the new Goldreefcity theatre


These are all international productions that came to joburg. Clearly Johannesburg is the mayor city for the arts in South Africa. No other city comes close!
The Lion King has started (1900 seats)
Mozart's Magic Flute will be performed in the Civic.
Rent - The Alexander Theatre
Hair - Montecassino Pieter Toerien Theatre (it was fab and had neked ppl)
Hairspray in the new Goldreefcity theatre (1100 seats)

Right you are Yarrickovichi... Jozi is the theatre capital of SA. I'm looking out for someone to redo the Alhambra Theatre near Ellis Park. That is one gorgeous motha-beep of a theatre!
 

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Jakes1
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JHC Achievements

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Johannesburg Housing Company’s firsts:

JHC’s pioneering work has resulted in:

The first conversion in Johannesburg from office to residential development (Tower Hill 1996)
The first upgrade of residential accommodation while tenants remained in-situ (Douglas Rooms 1998). Douglas Rooms was also JHC’s first slum upgrade
The first new build residential development in over thirty years in the inner city (Jeppe Oval 1997)
The first conversion from hotel to residential development (Landrost 2000)
The first building to be refurbished under the City of Johannesburg’s “Better Buildings” urban regeneration programme (Lake Success 2002)
The first new high rise residential development in over forty years in the inner city (Brickfields 2005)
The first solar heating application to a high rise residential building (Smitshof 2005)
The first tenant hardship assistance programme in South Africa, applied particularly to tenants who have lost a breadwinner through HIV/Aids (2003)
The first customer service survey for low income residential developments in South Africa (2004)
A dedicated community development section integral to the work of providing social housing in South Africa (established in 1999)
A combination of tenant committees and tenant volunteers who participate in the community development activities of JHC. Over 800 tenants have participated in JHC training schemes.
The first inter-building soccer and netball leagues, resulting in over 400 young people participating in organized sporting activities
The first inner city neighbourhood residential improvement programme (Ekhaya Neighbourhood Programme, Pietersen Street, initiated September 2004)
The first loan by a commercial financial institution to a social housing institution, thereby breaking the proverbial red line banks had drawn around the inner city (Elangeni 2002)
The first structured finance package to a social housing project bringing in a combination of equity and debt (Brickfields 2005)
The first South African company to win the UN Habitat award (2006)
 

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Jakes1
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The Lion King has started (1900 seats)
Mozart's Magic Flute will be performed in the Civic.
Rent - The Alexander Theatre
Hair - Montecassino Pieter Toerien Theatre (it was fab and had neked ppl)
Hairspray in the new Goldreefcity theatre (1100 seats)

Right you are Yarrickovichi... Jozi is the theatre capital of SA. I'm looking out for someone to redo the Alhambra Theatre near Ellis Park. That is one gorgeous motha-beep of a theatre!
From the draft of the inner city charter (5 May 2007)

"The City of Johannesburg will facilitate the re-opening of the Alexander Theatre by September
2007 and the Alhambra Theatre by September 2008."

So your wish concerning the Alhambra will come true. The Alexander is opening in September with Rent.
 

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Jakes1
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Rejuvenation and residential projects help usher in Jo'burg's downtown dawn
By: Christy van der Merwe
Published: 25 May 07 - 15:56

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Since 2001 there has been a significant acceleration of regeneration in Johannesburg, with major interventions around Constitution Hill in Hillbrow, Newtown, the so-called fashion district, the financial district, the Main street upgrade, the Metro mall, Mary Fitzgerald square, the Faraday taxi rank and of course the iconic Nelson Mandela bridge.


These initiatives have all been designed to start reassuring the citizens of greater Johannesburg that the city is a place where one can safely live, work and play once again.

It has been estimated that during the 2001/6 period, about R9-billion has been invested in the city centre, by both the public and the private sectors. From now until 2010 there are plans to scale up that effort with expectations of a further R10-billion investment, and this excludes development directly associated with the 2010 soccer World Cup.

"Johannesburg's inner city rejuvenation has taken off and is progressing at a considerable pace, but it happens building by building, and we still have a huge amount to do," Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA) CEO Lael Bethlehem tells Engineering News.

South Africa's economic expansion, fuelled by the country's historically low interest rates environment has led to a nationwide property boom, and some pioneering developers have decided to take a flyer not on boomed-off townhouse complexes or gated clusters, but on the cheaper property available in the inner city. Property from which others beat a hasty retreat as crime and grime encroached.

"A huge amount of money has gone into residential developments, and that has been a substantial part of urban renewal, with new developments, refurbishments and conversions adding about 10 000 residential units to the city in the period between 2001 and 2007. And this tempo looks as though it is going to increase, despite certain barriers, such as lengthy processes regarding plan passing and rates clearances, to contend with," states Neil Fraser, an urban consultant who has been at the forefront of the rejuvenation effort for decades.

READY, SET, DEVELOP


As the opportunities become more visible, the race to accommodate and gain from investments has gathered steam. The property owner profile is also changing, although still largely white, it is not only the public and corporate sectors investing in property, but a growing number of small-to-medium sized private organisations.

One such group catering for the high-end luxury market is Urban Ocean Property Developers, which owns a number of buildings within the inner city and is currently busy with construction at four residential units (The Franklin, The Cornerhouse, Shakespeare Place 1, and Shakespeare 2) and various other mixed-use developments.

The development company admits it is not all plain sailing. Commenting on the challenges of working in the inner city from a construction point of view, Urban Ocean project leader Chris Botes tells Engineering News that spatial confinement is one of the major constraints facing developers.

"Particularly with conversions of office blocks and heritage buildings, you have a very limited amount of space to work with and must be innovative with design and construction in the parameters set out," he adds.

Getting materials in and out of the building is also a struggle at times, as no hoists or cranes can be used near heritage buildings, because potential damage of a fa�ade is not an option.

Development of The Franklin was the first project of its sort in the inner city, and construction stared three years ago. The project consists of six phases and the company is currently completing phase three and is half-way through phase four. Occupation of the building is expected in June this year.

Being at the vanguard, there was a substantial amount of market hesitancy and the company also had to tackle various redundant systems within the construction and banking industries, as well as the changing and updating of regulations regarding sectional title buildings.

Interestingly, Botes says that crime in the inner city has not been a particularly challenging issue, and is in fact easier to control than in some other parts of the city and country. "Steel and copper theft is a problem at any site, no matter where it is situated. In the city centre we are somewhat better placed because there is only one way in and out of the site. We are also using a polymer aluminium pipe, which has the same attributes as copper, instead of copper, which is often stolen from sites, melted down and resold," says Botes.
Botes also explains that contractors are sometimes hesitant to try new technologies, and there are new products available to address weight and cost issues. Contractors are instead relying on tried and tested materials, which are not always the best option, "another example would be the use of dry-walling instead of bricks for interior walls," he adds.

A shift is reportedly under way from clients buying apartments as an investment, to buying them to live in. This trend has been entrenched as the inner city lifestyle with its combined retail, commercial, cultural and residential environment becomes more attractive to young professionals.

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS ON THE WAY

Another significant mixed-use development where construction is soon to start is that of Transport House, so-named because the building used to house the city's buses.
The building is currently dilapidated and is used as a parking lot, It has no roof and has, in the past, been housing squatters. The building will be revamped to contain apartments, a hotel, a cinema and a gym. The development will be undertaken by a group called Ilangabi.

Other developers currently operating in the inner city include Aengus Alp Lifestyle Properties (an ApexHi subsidiary), Atterbury Property, Circlevest Properties, Giuricich, Prop2000, Tiber, City Properties, Johannesburg land Company and Affordable Housing Company (AFHCO) among others.

There have also been joint ventures (JVs) between the public and private sectors such as the Brickfields project in Newtown, a R98,7-million JV between the Gauteng housing department, the Gauteng Partnership Fund, Anglo American Corporation, ABSA, ApexHi and Anglo Gold Ashanti, with the National Housing Finance Corporation injecting R25-million into the project and the City of Johannesburg providing the land. The development offers 742 units of one to three bedrooms, and caters for a range of income groups.
This development was the first major inner city mixed income, mixed use regeneration project, and contributed to the Johannesburg Housing Company scooping the prestigious United Nations Habitat award in September 2006, which is an international award recognising innovative and sustainable housing solutions.

THE CITY'S ROLE

Leading from problems outlined by developers working in the inner city, the City of Johannesburg hopes to ensure that by December 2007, all clearance certificates in the inner city are issued within three months, and will take a zero tolerance approach to dealing with incidents of fraud and corruption in the issuing of such clearance certificates.

The city has also committed to reducing the turnaround times on development and building plans applications, and to ensuring that the correct rates and tariffs are being applied to every building in the inner city by December 2008.
The city will also continue to promote mixed-use developments and will continue to apply a special rates rebate of 40% (available on application by the building owner) for all properties in identified inner city suburbs where at least 80% of the building is reserved for residential use.


BEYOND THE CONCRETE JUNGLE

Consultant to the city, Gapp Architechts Barry Senior in a recent address at the inner city summit confirmed that areas for new development and densification within the inner city have been identified. His ‘conservative estimate' shows the possibility for up to 55 000 additional residential units.

These of course will all need amenities, retail, open space and first class infrastructure. It has been said that the inner city has a ‘fairly good' infrastructure when it comes to water, electricity and sewage. However, it is also a relatively aged infrastructure, which will need upgrading and maintenance.

Open space is also viewed as a vital ingredient to sustainable rejuvenation, and one of the more interesting proposals put forward at the summit is a suggestion for a ‘continuous park corridor' from east to west across the city, linking new and existing parks and running above the existing Metrorail underground line.

With regards to service delivery, and waste management in particular, the city has outlined the injection of R99-million into Pikitup in the 2007 to 2008 financial year to build a new system of waste management and street cleaning with a specific focus on the inner city. The completion of the piloting of a new underground bin system for commercial and residential buildings is expected by December this year, with the system to be fully rolled out by 2011.

Fraser also notes that an important issue that may need more attention is that of adequate social facilities to accommodate the increasing residential developments. "Creches, schools, gyms and public spaces are needed if the number of people living in the city continues to increase - you can't jam thousands of people into a city and not give them anywhere to walk, play, run or walk the dog. You will encounter major social problems," he asserts.

In an attempt to attack the age-old inner city demons of crime and grime, city improvement districts (CIDs) are being facilitated by provincial legislation and have proved a successful initiative in some of the commercial areas in the inner city. Property owners within a particular area pay a certain amount over and above their rates and taxes into a section 21 company for additional cleaning, security and marketing of that area.

"The CIDs mean that you now have a number of people on the ground watching out and cleaning, which goes a long way to ensure the environment is looked after. They also create a platform for property owners to work together. Property owners have experienced numerous benefits from the CIDs," explains Bethlehem.

The City of Johannesburg is now developing a coherent programme of support for improvement districts within residential areas by October this year. It is envisaged that by June 2008 the city will have assisted in the establishment of at least three improvement districts in stressed residential areas.

BAD BUILDINGS CAN CRIMP PROGRESS

Becoming an increasingly disputed issue is that of so-called ‘bad buildings', with the better buildings programme (BBP) continuing to hammer away at plans to accelerate renewal. One initiative is to bring old buildings onto the market for new residential developments.

The programme makes provision for buildings where the rates and service charge arrears may exceed the market value of the building to be sold to a new owner at the assessed market value, with a consequent writing down of the debt owed to the city. The process involved in giving effect to the programme on a building-by-building basis is exhaustive, and a mechanism is required to speed the programme up. Till the end of January 2007, 61 buildings had been approved by the Council for the BBP, but only 15 have been completed, and there are hundreds more in the city.

In many cases, bad buildings are occupied by illegal tenants with slumlords extorting rent after they have taken over the building because the property owner has abandoned the building.

The Avril Malan building in Sauer street is said to be the worst of the bad buildings in the inner city. It is derelict, and with no working services, the first two floors have become communal ablutions and a refuse collection area, the stench deplorable, and emergency exits clogged with rubbish.

"Bad buildings like the Avril Malan building, and the laws surrounding eviction and relocation could be a major stumbling block for urban renewal. You can't move people from a building, no matter how squalid the conditions, unless you give them another roof over their head. It's a continuous battle and debate has only really started over the last year," says Fraser.

The city remains convinced that rapidly deteriorating buildings must be rehabilitated in the interests of the whole community, but also recognises the constitutional and legal rights to tenure security of very vulnerable people legally or illegally occupying many buildings, and sees the need to balance these rights and needs in a programme that sequences the rehabilitation of buildings with the availing of both temporary accommodation options and affordable rental and ownership options in the inner city.

A number of commitments have been put forward by the city in a draft charter to address the issues, including making available 5000 beds for emergency accommodation and decanting facilities in the inner city by 2009.


FORGING AHEAD

Besides residential development, further areas vital to urban regeneration are those of economic development, social development, transportation, urban management and safety and security, and public spaces, arts, culture and heritage.

The city and stakeholders have identified weaknesses in the existing system and plans are in progress to announce how to deal with these identified problems.

With the Gautrain on its way, massive development is being planned for the Park Station area by Johannesburg City's Transportation Department, and this is set to include not only bus and taxi ranks, but substantial retail and residential activity. There is also the proposal of a multibillion bus rapid transit (BRT) system for the metropolitan area including an inner city distribution system.

Johannesburg has won the right to host the 2009 World Summit on Arts and Culture, boosting this sector and accelerating projects such as the proposed refurbishment of Museum Africa, reopening the Alexander Theatre, and refurbishing the Johannesburg City Hall for meetings and concerts.

Rehabilitation and refurbishing of all existing sports and recreation facilities and swimming pools within the city are expected, as well as the development of new facilities.

Over 200 CCTV cameras will be added to the already existing network in the city to boost safety and security.

These projects are over and above the current development of certain nodes such as the fashion district in the east of the inner city, Jewel City, and the massive R600-million facelift of the Ellis Park precinct over the next four years ahead of the 2010 soccer World Cup.

The challenge for the future is to ensure the scale-up and continued momentum of regeneration efforts to ensure more rapid, even and sustained positive impacts on the entire inner city. To realise the vision of Johannesburg as a world-class dynamic city that works, and is liveable, safe, well-managed and welcoming, a city for all, and the trading hub of Africa.


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Afritect
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from the property magazine, in an article on town

"The 70-year-old Barbican building (owned by Old Mutual Properties) is undergoing a R120m refurbishment and will open as an upmarket members-only private club with a car showroom, a gym, and a cigar and champagne lounge. Reports say it is due for completion at the end of 2007. The government announced its plans for the Kapoing Government Precinct more than a year ago. The area will be situated between Simmonds, Anderson and President Streets, and 17 buildings (11 heritage) will be upgraded."

:banana: ya its my fame building in the cbd next to the diamond building u got any more news on it??
 
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