Attacq Limited and Atterbury Property Holdings’ groundbreaking US$0.1b Newtown Junction mixed-use development in the Johannesburg CBD’s historic arts and entertainment precinct will open next week, marking a major milestone in one of the biggest private sector led commercial property developments in the inner city.
The 85000m² Newtown Junction development includes a 38000m² shopping centre, some 39000m² of prime office space, a gym and basement parking for 2400 cars. Construction on another key component of the development – a 148-room City Lodge hotel that will span 8000m² – began this month and will be complete at the end of 2015.
Attacq and Atterbury Property Developments (APD) are 50/50 joint shareholders of the Newtown Junction development. However, through Attacq’s 25% shareholding in APD, Attacq has an effective 62.5% shareholding. The landmark project in the heart of Newtown and flanked by the Market Theatre and right next to the M1 Motorway, has strong support from the Joburg Property Company (JPC).
A major part of the office component has been taken up by Nedbank for its Newtown Campus, which is nearing completion and on track to achieve a 4 Green Star SA rating from the Green Building Council of South Africa. On the shopping centre side, leading companies and brands that have secured space at Newtown Junction, include Pick n Pay, Ster-Kinekor, Truworths, the Foschini Group, Mr Price, Busboys & Poets, Life Grand Cafe and Shoprite amongst others. The gym will be operated by Planet Fitness.
Morne Wilken, CEO of Attacq comments: “We are proud to be investing in the Newtown Junction project, which is one of the most exciting developments in the Johannesburg CBD. In addition to the development being located in the vibrant and historic Newtown precinct, it is part of an urban regeneration effort with the city council.”
Construction commenced in October 2012, and despite the recent construction industry strikes that caused delays, James Ehlers, Managing Director of Atterbury Property Developments, says the Newtown Junction shopping centre is on track to open on 25 September 2014.
“The development is anchored by its retail component and will benefit from the offices as well the leisure and lifestyle elements of the gym and hotel. It’s an enhanced and safe mixed-use node within Newtown. This project was originally meant to be just a shopping centre development, but it changed at the onset into a groundbreaking mixed-use development in partnership with the city and the South African Heritage Resources Agency,” Ehlers adds.
The developers were conscious of the rich heritage value of the site, and with the support of the South African Heritage Resources Agency, have retained some of the old structures. For example, the 100 year old “Potato Shed” structure was taken off site when Newtown Junction’s multi-level basement was being constructed and the sheds were placed back in the exact position.
“Although not confirmed, it is believed that Newtown Junction is the biggest private development in the Johannesburg CBD since the Carlton Centre was constructed in the 70’s. The Johannesburg city council being the owner of the land has played a big role in this development, ensuring that it is completed successfully and that the economic targets of the City are met during the process,” says Wilken.
Newtown Junction’s development has to date created around 2700 jobs during construction alone, of which 850 were jobs for local unemployed people. During the operational phase it is estimated that there will be around 4800 people working in Newtown Junction.