South Africa’s Divercity Urban Property Fund has turned the first sod for US $44bn Jewel City redevelopment project which has been closed to the public for decades.
Speaking during the ground breaking ceremony, Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba, said the development project is a major investment in South Africa that is intended to provide affordable accommodation and to undo the lasting legacy of apartheid-era spatial planning.
“This is a catalyst for igniting the city of Johannesburg. We are a city with a housing backlog of 300 000 and 160 000 of our people are looking for accommodation,” said Mayor Herman Mashaba.
Jewel City development project
Located in the eastern CBD of Johannesburg on Fox Street, once the heart of the diamond and precious metals trade in Johannesburg, the city stretches from Maboneng to Absa precincts.
The revitalized Jewel City will reopen to the public as a vibrant mixed-use precinct. The project includes development of six city blocks, five of which have existing commercial buildings on them and construction of a new residential building, of around 1,000 residential units, 20,000 sqm commercial space, 4,800 sqm retail space, 750 parking bays and pedestrianized Streets, to create a safe, green, energetic environment.
In addition to the 1,000 residential units, there will be an additional 1,800 DiverCity-owned units outside of the precinct, within a two kilometer walking distance. This will lead to over 4,500 people staying in and around Jewel City.
Creation of jobs
The Mayor added that the project is anticipated to create an estimated 1 279 temporary jobs and 1 384 permanent jobs, contributing to the municipal and national tax base.
“One in three people in Johannesburg is unemployed and if Johannesburg isn’t working, South Africa has no chance of succeeding. This project is very important, not just for Johannesburg or South Africa, but also for Africa at large,” said Herman Mashaba.
Divercity’s major shareholders and stakeholders, Atterbury Property, Ithemba Property and Talis Property Fund as well as its cornerstone investors RMH Property and Nedbank Property Partners, attended the ceremony.
Reconstruction will start at the end of January 2019, with the first units available for rent by October 2019, and final completion of the precinct is expected by mid-2020.