Hillbrow's bad buildings' get a makeover

Posted On Wednesday, 29 October 2003 02:00 Published by eProp Commercial Property News
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The City of Johannesburg's property arm, the Jo'burg Property Company, is making huge strides in Hillbrow in its efforts to rejuvenate so-called "bad buildings" in the inner city.

Property-Housing-ResidentialThrough the company's better buildings programme, headed by Geoff Mendelowitz, we may see a safe and attractive Hillbrow sooner than we think.

Last week the notorious Mimosa and Rondebosch hotels were cleared of people staying there illegally by the inner city task force, which is part of the City of Johannesburg, together with police and security firms.

The tenders for the redevelopment of the two properties, which had become associated with crime, have already been awarded to two companies.

The Mimosa tender was given to Ithemba Property Trust, which plans to refit the hotel and transform it into a social housing facility. The same applies to the Rondebosch Hotel which is being bought by the Johannesburg Housing Company, a nonprofit social housing institution, which plans to transform the hotel into social housing.

Mendelowitz says the objective of the programme is to ensure the orderly and long-term sustainability of an inner city building and precinct regeneration process.

Mendelowitz says the company has to move quickly, efficiently and unobtrusively.

"If, for instance, the tenants realise that the freebie there is ending, there is a tendency to trash the building.

"We try to prevent more degeneration," he says.

He says the Jo'burg Property Company is working on about five or six inner city buildings.

If prospective new owner's proposal is accepted, the Jo'burg Property Company will ensure that they deliver on the conditions of their proposal.

"If he says he will be investing R10m, he must do it."

As a sweetener for prospective redevelopers, Mendelowitz says the City of Johannesburg will also write off all arrears on the buildings, which usually have a high rate of arrears.

"Let us say there is a 20-storey building that has R3m in arrears and the estimate of fixing it up is R5m. The council will write off the arrears because they would rather have new investment in the building."

The "bad" buildings in the inner city and surrounding areas include buildings where owners owe large amounts in arrears, or have abandoned buildings, buildings that are derelict, overcrowded and in a deplorable state, buildings that have been invaded by illegal squatters and used for criminal activity.

The programme's mission is to transform these buildings and make sure that there is a responsible ownership and management with a long-term commitment to maintaining acceptable standards, and that council charges are paid and council bylaws are obeyed.

The programme also aims at producing a knock-on effect for areas surrounding the better buildings plan.

It also aims to restore overall social and business confidence in the area, increase the value of property and create a situation where market forces ensure these properties and areas become sought-after opportunities of investment.

Mendelowitz says the Jo'burg Property Company is now calling for a broad cross-section of individuals and companies within the property industry to participate in the implementation of the regeneration process.

The company has already embarked on a process of identifying potential buildings that are available and will become available in the future.

"A number of different legal and negotiation processes will be used in ensuring that a property is available for purchase or management by new operators," Mendelowitz says.

He says the Jo'burg Property Company wants property service providers to register with them so they can be called to provide quotations and or proposals for various fast-tracked processes.

The service providers include:

Residential property owners and developers, ranging from those involved in social housing to middle and upper income housing;

Commercial property owners and developers;

Property managers and administrators who manage and maintain buildings on behalf of owners and developers;

Organisations involved in the provision of shelters, relocation facilities, emergency housing and disaster management;

Organisations that safeguard and manage buildings on an emergency security basis;

Service providers to provide or manage facilities for temporary relocation during the renovation of buildings; and

Organisations who can manage tenant and landlord social processes during building transfer and renovation.

Pro forma registration documents are obtainable from the help desk on the ninth floor of Braamfontein Centre, 23 Jorissen Street, in Braamfontein.

 

Last modified on Monday, 19 May 2014 10:18

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