Landlords drawn to Newtown

NEWTOWN, the trendy entertainment and residential precinct in Johannesburg’s inner city, is beginning to attract interest from would-be office landlords.

Property commentators say that interest in this sector of the area’s redevelopment is growing. New office projects could kick off if the South African Heritage Resources Agency (Sahra) approves development proposals for Newtown’s Central Place.

The proposals stem from an original invitation by the Johannesburg Development Agency and City of Joburg Property Company, the development and property arms of the City of Johannesburg, to develop properties on behalf of the city council.

The invitation called for development proposals on five sites in the Central Place precinct, and a ruling by Sahra on awarded proposals may now be within sight, says Urban Inc, a consultancy focusing on the revitalisation and regeneration of cities.

Neil Fraser, a partner at Urban Inc, says approval for the revised Central Place precinct proposals will reportedly include offices, as well as residential and retail components, and will help to clear the way for other aspects of Newtown’s renewal, including further office development.

But Nicole McLachlan, of Finlay & Associates, which handled the tender proposals for the Central Place precinct, says the remaining northern and southern precincts of Newtown will have to go through a similar process of approvals premised on “heritage-impact assessments”.

Property consultancy Bradford McCormack says investors recognise Newtown’s potential.

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