Private sector developers honoured for improving Joburg inner city

12th June 2009 By: Christy van der Merwe

The City of Johannesburg and the Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA) on Thursday evening honoured private sector developers, which were consistently changing and uplifting the face of the inner city, at the second yearly Halala Joburg awards.

“The private sector has rewarded us with investment far beyond our expectation,” enthused JDA chairperson Luthando Vutula at the glittering awards ceremony, held at Constitution Hill’s Round House.

These awards are a visible expression of the values of promoting innovation, drawing attention, facilitating involvement, creating impact, encouraging flexibility, assisting engagement, developing ownership, and leaving a legacy, said the JDA.

In the category “caring Joburg” for developments supporting the citizens of Johannesburg, three investors each won a Halala award. These were: Makhulong A Matala – a subsidiary of the Johannesburg Housing Company (JHC); Citykidz pre- and primary school – Affordable Housing Company (Afhco); and, Friends of the inner city forum – established by inner city community member volunteers.

In the category “relaxing and playing Joburg” for recreation destinations, the winner was Smart Gym. Established in 2006, there were now three Smart Gyms in the inner city, occupying space in previously derelict and dangerous buildings, and MD Carien Engelbrecht said that the company now had 3 000 members.

The other finalists in the relaxing and playing Joburg category were Ashanti Urban Hip Hotels, and the Bassline in Newtown.

In the category “working and buying Joburg” for creating a business destination in the city centre, the winner was Olitzki Property Holdings, for the Lunga, uMoya and Marlborough House project.

The development is said to be the catalyst behind the Ghandi Square upgrade and removed illegal occupants and renovated the office buildings, and brought in retailers such as McDonalds, Steers, Mimmos, and MTN, on the ground floors.

The Lunga, uMoya and Marlborough House development ran up against the other developments of Works @ Market by City Properties, and another Olitzki Property Holdings development, the Loveday complex.

The “living Joburg” category was further divided into three categories – and the winner of the ‘luxury’ living award was Luengo Investments for the Ashanti and Dogon Buildings on Anderson street. Luengo is a joint venture between insurance giant Hollard Insurance and black women’s investment group PHAB Holdings, and the apartment and hotel are operated by Urban Hip Hotels.

In the ‘affordable’ living category, the winner was Afhco’s Sambro House, in Marshalltown. Sambro House consists of 121 units, with bachelor flats priced at R1 440 a month, and one bedroom apartments available for R3 440 a month. The building was previously a hijacked building that had been stripped of all its fixtures, and project development came in at a cost of about R22-million.

In the ‘individual investor’ or entrepreneur living Joburg category, Nqobile Khumalo scooped the award for the Sara Leon Building in Lorentzville. With funding from the Trust for Urban Housing Finance, Khumalo, with experience in building maintenance and plumbing, completely refurbished the once illegally occupied, six unit building, and the first tenants moved in during July 2008.

A new addition to the award categories in 2009, the “sustaining Joburg” award had two recipients. The winners were the Main Street Mall, and the eKhaya neighbourhood improvement programme.

The Main Street Mall is a Section 21 company (not for gain) that was established by the property owners on Main Street to upgrade, and now sustainably manage and maintain the area in Marshalltown with its strong mining references.

The eKhaya neighbourhood improvement programme, in Hillbrow was said to have had a direct positive impact on the 6 000 people living in the 33 programme affiliated buildings. It was initiated by the JHC in 2004, and has since introduced campaigns to tackle specific issues such as safety, cleanliness and health.

The Colosseum Heritage award was also handed out at the Halala ceremony, and the Turbine Hall Square scooped this accolade. The floating trophy was handed over by Egoli Heritage Trust chairperson Herbert Prins.

The development, now the home of mining company AngloGold Ashanti’s corporate head quarters, was said to be a catalyst for change in the area. The heritage and architecture had been preserved by the Tiber group, in a way that was said to enrich the environment, and play a role in the regeneration of the city.