Property investment and development company Atterbury said on Friday construction of a new R1.3-billion mixed-use retail and business development in the Johannesburg central business district would start in October.
Newtown’s historic, but derelict Potato Shed buildings, between Museum Africa, Mary Fitzgerald Square and Carr street, would be transformed into Newtown Junction – a development comprising a 40 000 m2 shopping centre, offices, hotel, gym and four levels of basement parking.
The Potato Shed was built in 1912 to supply and store produce for the market complex.
JSE-listed WBHO was appointed as the main contractor to undertake construction, which was expected to take two years to complete.
Excavation of the four-level basement parking started in April and it was currently about 80% complete.
Newtown Junction is backed by the Johannesburg Property Company and the South African Heritage Resources Agency, as well as some of South Africa’s leading businesses.
Chain stores Pick n Pay, Shoprite, Mr Price, Truworths and Foschini have confirmed that they would be opening shops in the centre, while Nedbank was consolidating its offices in the Johannesburg area to Newtown Junction.
The company said the project would integrate the artistic heritage and artistic attractions of the city’s historic Newtown precinct.
Atterbury MD James Ehlers said Newtown Junction would be sustainable while preserving Joburg’s history.
“The buildings will be sensitively adapted into a quality shopping centre that celebrates the cultural significance of the site and its buildings. The architecture will be an appealing mix of old facades and new structures. This fits with Newtown’s identity which blends old and new beautifully,” added retail director Cobus van Heerden.
A walkway and historic railway bridge will link Newtown Junction with Museum Africa and the Market Theatre.
The development was estimated to create about 1 700 jobs.