JOHANNESBURG – Dilapidated shopping centres, depressed office rentals, squalor and government’s plan to ensure that people stay closer to their workplace is behind a five-year plan to revive Randburg and build 735-affordable housing units.
The plan, which is about to enter the second year of a five-year cycle, will see the whole triangle of land, between Selkirk, Bram Fischer and Jan Smuts, developed, says executive manager of planning and strategy at the JDA, Sharon Lewis.
According to the Randburg central business district Urban Development Framework (UDF) and proposal approved by the City Council in July and November 2010, respectively, the Southern portion (land parcel 1 in diagram) will be sub-divided from the rest of the site, with 2.27Ha to be developed for social housing by Johannesburg Social Housing Company (Joshco) while the Northern portion of 6.4Ha will be made up of a mixed-use property development that will be able to house municipal and social services, including the taxi rank, the Bus Rapid Transit facility, the library, the licensing department and more affordable housing.
This decision, says Lewis, was taken, as the City Council decided instead of burdening the “full development, which is going to be a PPP (public, private, partnership), with a very high requirement for affordable housing, we would take a portion of the site and develop it independently. The southern portion, which is on the Selkirk street side, is going to be developed by Joshco and it will be owned and managed by it.”
Joscho will be behind the development of 735 units, modelled on Newtown’s Brickfields. The units will be built next to the Randburg Taxi Rank to service a “working class, pedestrian market, which is very much what Randburg has become”, says Lewis.
Phase 1 has already started, which includes the demolishing, upgrade of the road and bulk infrastructure, says Joshco’s Obakeng Nyundu.
Parallel to that adds Nyundu “we are doing detailed designs, and the tender process for phase 1” will go out early next year.
“If all goes well, development is expected to start in June”, Nyundu told Moneyweb.
Infrastructure upgrades, such as storm water, water, and road upgrades, aligning the internal road to the existing road, will also be done, as and when the money becomes available, says Nyundu.
The JDA will be responsible for: supporting the City to implement the UDF, participating in a co-ordinating committee, representing the City in interaction with the private sector, making plans for some public environment upgrading work and facilitating the PPP in collaboration with the Johannesburg Property Company, which holds the asset on behalf of the City, says Lewis.
It will also work on a phased public environment upgrade depending on the availability of budget, adds Lewis. This will start in 2013, with plans to upgrade the Hill Street Mall, followed by making some of the streets in the office environment more pedestrian friendly, so that Randburg can be more of a transit hub and then going into the residential part of the CBD.
Both Lewis and Nyundu said it is difficult at this stage to say what the value of the project will be, but Lewis said it will be “significant”.