The Jewel City development project in Johannesburg is coming to life, with the first sod turned on Monday and further development plans for the inner-city precinct unveiled.
The sod-turning was attended by Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba and Sigma Capital executive chairperson Phuti Mahanyele.
The project is a R1.2-billion investment by Divercity Urban Property Fund and its backers, some of South Africa’s leading property investors and developers, including major shareholders of Atterbury and Ithemba.
Jewel City, the former heart of the diamond and precious metals trade in Johannesburg, is a precinct spanning six city blocks that have been closed off to the public for decades. Divercity acquired Jewel City from Redefine Properties and the property transferred on October 1.
Jewel City will reopen to the public as a mixed-use precinct with a fully pedestrianised streetscape. The project includes the redevelopment of existing buildings and the construction of more than 40 000 m2 of new buildings in the precinct.
The rejuvenated Jewel City will include an abundance of amenities such as a school, clinic, gym, parking and convenience retail, as well as fast food and other restaurants.
It will also include 20 000 m2 of commercial space, 1 200 new residential apartments in Phase 1 and up to 1 000 in Phase 2.
Speaking at the event on Monday, Mahanyele emphasised the importance of such inner city redevelopment projects, that will provide affordable accommodation, especially to undo the lasting legacy of apartheid-era spatial planning.
She also enthused that the development would create 1 279 temporary jobs and 1 384 permanent jobs.
Reconstruction will start at the end of January 2019, the first units will be available for rent by October 2019, and final completion of the precinct is expected by mid-2020.
The redevelopment will also see the full pedestrianising of Fox street.
“This will be a place of both living and playing.”
Mashaba posited that the project served as catalyst for the revitalisation of Johannesburg, and further, would support the growth of the country as a whole.
He also called for further investment into the city.