Marking one of the biggest private sector-led commercial property developments in Johannesburg’s inner city, property groups Attacq and Atterbury Property Holdings are a week away from the soft launch of the R1.3-billion Newtown Junction mixed-use development, in the central business district’s (CBD’s) historic arts and entertainment precinct.
Forming part of an ambitious inner-city rejuvenation programme, the 90 000 m2 development, located in the heart of Newtown and flanked by the Market Theatre and the M1 highway, would include a 38 000 m2 shopping centre, some 39 000 m2 of prime office space, a gym, as well as basement parking for 2 400 vehicles.
Construction on another key component of the development – a 148-room City Lodge hotel that would span 8 000 m2 – began earlier this month and would be complete by the end of 2015.
“Although not confirmed, it is believed that Newtown Junction is the biggest private development in the Johannesburg CBD since the Carlton Centre was constructed in the 70’s.
“As the owner of the land on which the development is taking place, the Johannesburg city council has played a big role in this development, ensuring that it is completed successfully and that the economic targets of the city are met during the process,” commented Attacq CEO Morne Wilken.
Noting that the development had “strong” support from the Joburg Property Company, Attacq stated that the bulk of the office component, which was nearing completion and on track to achieve a 4-Star Green Star South Africa rating from the Green Building Council of South Africa, would be occupied by financial group Nedbank.
On the retail side, anchor tenants at Newtown Junction would include Pick n Pay, Ster-Kinekor, Truworths, Woolworths, the Foschini Group, Mr Price, Busboys & Poets, Life Grand Café, Shoprite and Planet Fitness.
Atterbury Property Developments (APD) MD James Ehlers added that the development was anchored by its retail component and complemented by the accompanying office space, as well the leisure and lifestyle elements of the gym and hotel.
“It’s an enhanced and safe mixed-use node within Newtown. This project was originally meant to be just a shopping centre development, but it changed at the onset into a ground-breaking mixed-use development in partnership with the city and the South African Heritage Resources Agency,” he noted.
Ehlers further outlined that, with the support of the agency, the development had retained some of the older, existing structures, incorporating them into the design of the new retail area.
“For example, the 100-year-old ‘potato shed’ structure was taken off site when Newtown Junction’s multilevel basement was being built and was, thereafter, replaced in the exact position,” he said.
Construction started in October 2012 and, despite the recent construction industry strikes, which caused delays, the shopping centre was on track to open on September 25, with around 70% of the retail tenants expected to open their doors to shoppers.
The development created around 2 700 jobs during construction and was expected to support the employment of some 4 800 once fully operational.
Attacq and APD were 50:50 joint shareholders of the Newtown Junction development; however, through Attacq’s 25% shareholding in APD, Attacq had an effective 62.5% shareholding.
Construction group Wilson Bayly Holmes-Ovcon was the primary contractor for the development, which was designed by architectural firm Mashabane Rose.