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Plan under way to salvage Braamfontein

Posted On Wednesday, 24 July 2002 10:01 Published by eProp Commercial Property News
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Property owners commit themselves to boost district's image

Jim McLeanProperty Prowners in and around Braamfontein are working on a plan to prevent the district from suffering the kind of decay that sank the Johannesburg central business district (CBD) a few years ago.

Braamfontein, on the northern borders of the CBD, has shown some resilience to urban decay, but its future still hangs in the balance. Symptoms of deterioration, such as rising crime levels and an increase in slum areas, are emerging.

In co-operation with the Johannesburg city authorities, property owners have committed themselves to inject capital investment that will bolster Braamfontein's image.

Key role players include Liberty Life, which owns a large chunk of Braamfontein, and global pulp and paper group Sappi, which has ignored the great exodus to the northern suburbs and kept its head office near the Civic Theatre.

The list of owners includes ApexHi, which inherited the property portfolio of the defunct Anglo American Properties.

Liberty Properties MD Jim McLean says the companies could not stand and watch Braamfontein go down the drain. Liberty, which has also kept its head office in Braamfontein, has moved first by committing R20m to a parking arcade development in Ameshof Street. Sappi, in a joint venture with the Civic Theatre, is to develop another parking project.

The revival plan will be complemented by the installation of surveillance cameras, which have proved to be a major success in combating crime in the CBD.

According to the latest SA Property Owners' Association figures, Braamfontein carries total rentable space of 427788m² of which 12,5% was vacant in the three months to March. This is a slight increase compared to 11,4% nine months ago.

About 255600m² is A grade space and 172000m² is B grade.

Braamfontein rentals have remained above those of the CBD, with A grade commanding an average of R45/m² (R25/m² for the CBD) and R25/m² for B grade (R21/m² for the CBD).

Braamfontein's problems mainly stem from its residential stock, which is deteriorating largely because of neglect by owners.

There is a high demand for rental accommodation, driven by the concentration of educational institutions in the area, anchored by Witwatersrand University. Students however, often have no choice but to rent apartments that are below acceptable standards.

McLean says the rejuvenation plan will blend in well with the Blue IQ initiative for a R450m initial investment on the border of Braamfontein and Hillbrow, in a project called Constitutional Hill.

At the other end of Braamfontein towards Newtown, Blue IQ is overseeing the development of a R100m bridge called Nelson Mandela Bridge, which will link Braamfontein and Newtown.

Last modified on Monday, 19 May 2014 11:36

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