The strategic urban rejuvenation of the iconic Jewel City is forging ahead.
By Divercity Urban Property Fund
Construction of Divercity Urban Property Fund’s redevelopment of Jewel City is changing the face of Johannesburg’s CBD and revitalising six city blocks that have been closed to the public for decades. The development will be a mixed-use and amenity-rich affordable housing precinct.
The project commenced in October 2018, with phased completion expected from November 2019 until April 2020. Work has started on the first new residential building and, in addition, the first residential conversion of an existing building on site is now underway.
The Jewel City redevelopment initiative is a substantial investment in Joburg by Divercity, a new investment fund that is renewing and re-energising South Africa’s urban centres with unique inner-city precinct development.
Divercity combines commercial buildings with affordable residential accommodation to create inclusive and diverse neighbourhoods. Its key shareholders and stakeholders are Atterbury Property, Ithemba Property and Talis Property Fund and its cornerstone investors are RMH Property and Nedbank Property Partners.
By redeveloping Jewel City’s existing office and light industrial buildings and constructing about 30 000m2 of new residential buildings from the ground up, the total development area will be more than 40 000m2. The previously ‘closed-off area’ of the city will be converted into a thriving, modern inner-city neighbourhood that will include 1 200 new residential apartments in its first phase and up to 1 000 in its second phase.
Leading South African property developer and investor Atterbury is managing the development for Divercity and reports that Nomad Construction is the appointed contractor of the first residential redevelopment, Block One. The WBHO / Matheo joint venture (JV) is the appointed contractor for the first new residential building, Block Six, and all other elements of the development.
“The fact that this development is in the inner city already makes it a very sustainable solution.”
The master programme for Jewel City has been orchestrated so the development of all six buildings of the first phase will be completed at the same time.
“There will be a crescendo of activity as those buildings that require less time for completion are progressively added to the active construction programme,” explains Derrick Pautz, Atterbury development manager. Residents are expected to move into their Jewel City apartments from November this year as the first floors of residential development are completed. Upper floors will be available first, moving down the buildings until all floors are finished with Phase 1 completion in April 2020.
The precinct also includes commercial space and parking. There is already good progress on leasing the development’s first 14 000m2 of commercial space, which includes a primary and high school and medical facilities.
“Jewel City is enjoying excellent buy-in from major national retailers, which are showing keen interest and commitment,” reports Pautz.
The world-class ‘live, work, play’ Jewel City will connect with two other Divercity projects including the new Towers Main redevelopment in the ABSA precinct and its vibey Maboneng residential addresses. This link will be facilitated with a people-friendly walkway along Fox Street.
“We’re excited to break down the walls of Jewel City and open up great living opportunities and enhanced quality of life for people in the city,” says Pautz.
The development is a massive boost for the economy of Johannesburg and will create an estimated 1 279 temporary jobs and 25 permanent jobs and add to both the municipal and national tax base. Jewel City is expected to have a total development value of more than R1.2-billion once complete.
Challenges and impact
“Some elements of difficulty of this development include the affordability pressures that tenants face that demands extreme cost-awareness from the development team to bring the project to market as affordably as possible. Also, being an inner-city rejuvenation project, the sites are constrained and site access for delivery of materials is a constant challenge,” says Carel Kleynhans, director at Ithemba Property Development.
However, urban densification is essential for reducing the overall cost of housing delivery, reducing its environmental impact and providing easy access to job opportunities and social amenities for households. This project serves as proof that well-located affordable housing precincts are commercially viable.
Elements of efficiency and sustainability
“Most significantly, the fact that this development is in the inner city is what makes it very sustainable. For its residents, its proximity to job opportunities and amenities dramatically reduces commuting time and distance,” Kleynhans adds.
In addition, the development utilises existing infrastructure rather than requiring new infrastructure to be installed to a greenfield site.
In terms of services, the residential buildings feature heat pumps for hot water generation, low flow shower heads and taps, dual flush toilets and smart metering for both water and electricity.