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Development opportunities on public land

Posted On Wednesday, 20 March 2002 03:01 Published by
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Jerusalem site project in Fairlands, in the northern suburbs, is expected to go out to tender later this year or early next year
Jerusalem site project in Fairlands, in the northern suburbs, is expected to go out to tender later this year or early next year

THE Johannesburg Property Company is to roll out a number of property development opportunities in a bid to unlock value in council-owned land.

The move takes its cue from central government, which has earmarked prime public land for commercial development that should raise enormous amounts of capital for government.

However, there is concern among developers about the effect of the landrelease programmes on the commercial property market.

Indiscriminate releasing of land for development is blamed for the oversupply in the commercial property sector, and any other blind release is expected to devastate the industry.

SA Association of Property Owners president Anthony Diepenbroek says increasing parastatal intervention in the property market threatens to upset a delicate balance.

Formed to manage Johannesburg's council property, Johannesburg Property Company has identified for development the 35ha Jerusalem site in Fairlands, north of Johannesburg; Baralink, land between Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital and the old Potchefstroom road in Soweto; and the Randburg civic precinct.

Executive director Leila McKenna says the company has applied for the rezoning of the Jerusalem site for residential and commercial development.

The development of this site on the corner of the N1 and Beyers Naude Drive is expected to go out to tender later this year or early next year, pending the outcome of the application.

The Baralink site is to be made available for commercial and residential development.

McKenna says former president Nelson Mandela has asked for a piece of this land to develop a tuberculosis centre. His request is being investigated by the property company.

McKenna says the Randburg civic precinct is underutilised, and the company plans to reinvent it. Part of the civic centre will be leased as office space, the new Randburg taxi rank is to be expanded, and the clinic and library will be moved to the civic centre.

The Randburg Magistrate's Court will remain where it is for now, but will move to new premises in about three years' time.

The company has identified a Houghton site for new administrative headquarters for the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund and the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

It has also sealed a 25-year lease that hands Johannesburg Stadium to the Ellis Park Stadium management company in a R20m deal. Built in 1999, Johannesburg Stadium has been a financial burden on the accounts of the metropolitan council.

The Johannesburg City Hall was recently sold to the Gauteng legislature for R20m.

Publisher: Business Day
Source: Business Day
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