South Africa: Prices Rise Near 2010 Stadiums

The Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA), the development arm of the City of Johannesburg, is upgrading the areas around the 2010 Soccer World Cup stadiums and says these efforts are already affecting property prices in Bertrams and Doornfontein.

JDA CEO Lael Bethlehem says the agency is working on the Ellis Park and Nasrec precincts. The Nasrec precinct surrounds the FNB Soccer City stadium.

"In Ellis Park we are doing a huge amount of work upgrading the area," Bethlehem says. "In particular we are bringing in the new public transport system called Bus Rapid Transit into the Ellis Park area. "This is a set of dedicated bus lanes that will allow the new buses to move very quickly." The Sunday Times reported earlier this year that the city's R2bn Bus Rapid Transit system was expected to be in place by 2009 and that giant 160-seat buses would be introduced and would run in dedicated lanes on big roads.

Bethlehem says the JDA is also upgrading a portion of the nearby Bertrams area and will be upgrading a number of parks and sport facilities in that area. The agency has also put in some public art at the intersection of Joe Slovo Drive and Saratoga Avenue. "We have already completed revamping the Troyeville Park and we are going to be doing some residential developments in Bertrams, near to the Johannesburg Stadium, which is the athletics facility," says Bethlehem. She says the Johannesburg Housing Company , a nonprofit social housing institution, is going to develop a large residential complex in Bertrams at a cost of about R300m.

"I have no doubt that property prices in the Bertrams area, Lorentzville and Doornfontein are going to rise. In fact, they have already started rising." With the countdown having recently passed the 1000-day mark, Bethlehem says the JDA will have finished the work it has undertaken on time. The JDA is also upgrading the Nasrec area because the international broadcasting centre for the Soccer World Cup will be there. This is expected to bring large investments into the area, situated between Soweto and Johannesburg. "We do have a land owners' forum that the JDA chairs and which meets regularly, and a number of land owners there are looking at residential developments there, as well as hotels."

The JDA is upgrading the area, including putting in new infrastructure, street lights and trees, Bethlehem says.

She says the Bus Rapid Transit system will also "open up" the Nasrec area "because one of its routes runs into Nasrec".

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