Focus on Sandton, Johannesburg, South Africa

Heart of Sandton reborn as Sandton Central

THE need to give Sandton a specific identity has led to the creation of Sandton Central, a hub of businesses in the area bounded by Grayston and Sandton drives, and Rivonia Road.

Sandton Central comes out of the need to make the area more attractive to businesses, residents, visitors and tourists.

It is co-ordinated by the Sandton Central Marketing Committee, which comprises representatives of the Sandton Business Improvement District and the Sandton City and Convention Centre Improvement District. These two bodies were formed in 2002 and 2001 respectively; both will now dissolve to form Sandton Central.

Sandton, which contains several top-class hotels and shopping centres, is one of the premier business and tourist destinations of Johannesburg - and South Africa too.

The need to define and shape the area came about as a result of the word "Sandton" being used to refer to a broad chunk of the northern suburbs, from Buccleuch in the east to Fourways in the west.

"Calling this particular area Sandton Central will therefore give it a definite persona and those who live, work, play and shop here will have a clear idea of its identity," explains Cara Reilly, the brand manager for Sandton Central.

The idea is similar to that behind Central Park and Grand Central Station in New York, or Hendon Central in London.

"We believe Sandton Central will give all stakeholders a sense of place and that the new name will assist us to re-position perceptions," says Reilly.

The Sandton business improvement administrators have brought cleanliness and security to the area. But there has been some concern that workers and visitors tend to become cocooned in their buildings and that little is happening outside.

In a survey of those who live in, work in and visit the area, it was found that - although there was "plenty of energy" around - people didn't step out on to the streets: they had their lunch in the office restaurant and went straight back to their desks.

These people work in "corporate silos" and their daily routine brings little interaction outside their offices.

The effect of this too is that there is little to make visitors spend an extra day in the city - something the city's tourism industry is keen to change.

"We will be encouraging business and leisure visitors to stay another day in Sandton Central. We also plan to work closely with all key stakeholders going forward - including residents and schools - and have some exciting events in the pipeline," says Reilly.

The conclusion of the survey was that there was a sense of complacency, even arrogance, on the part of those in the area. What was now needed was to "make the area optimal".

The brand mantra of Sandton Central will be that it will become an "enterprising global hub". The area will take on "an outward-looking personality" and be seen to be connected to "Alexandra, the Johannesburg CBD and beyond, as well as the key tourist attractions in Gauteng".

The project will be informed by five key words: define, spruce up, open up, connect and interconnect.

The area will develop a corporate identity and will be demarcated with banners and signboards. Sprucing-up will be intensified and more green spaces will be created. An activities map will open up the area.

The connecting process will involve an urban plan in which boulevards and open spaces will be created, to get people out of their offices and interacting on the streets. And Sandton Central will work to become more connected to the whole of Johannesburg.

The Sandton Central security staff - a controller, five supervisors, 46 officers on day shift and 13 on night shift - will wear red uniforms and will be known as the "men in red". Maintenance staff will don the same clothing.

Welcome to Johannesburg, Sandton

South Africa's place of gold, and the economic powerhouse of Southern Africa. And welcome to Sandton, the thriving district at the hub of this region's commercial activity, and home to South Africa's largest and most prestigious multi-purpose exhibition and convention centre.

Sandton forms a separate, self-sufficient metropolitan node in this region. It has its own sophisticated atmosphere and appeal, characterised by a thriving hotel, business and entertainment district.

All banking and business requirements can be met in the adjoining Sandton City and Sandton Square precincts. Several travel agencies are situated in these two centres, and many of the surrounding hotels and business bureaus offer secretarial, personal computer, courier and telefax services.

The Sandton Convention Centre itself is easily accessible from the area’s main roads and highways. Parking is never a problem, because the Sandton Convention Centre is surrounded by no fewer than 10 600 bays, in two major parking arcades.

Accommodation
The Sandton Convention Centre is flanked by the InterContinental Sandton Sun and Towers, and the Sandton City Holiday Inn Garden Court hotels. These two hotels alone provide1000 guestrooms on the very doorstep of the Sandton Convention Centre. A further 15 hotels lie within relaxed and comfortable walking distance, and as many again lie within a 15 km radius, providing a full range of modern hotel facilities and accommodation.

Shopping Convenience
Sandton offers its visitors a unique shopping experience. The Sandton Convention Centre is linked by skywalk to Sandton City and adjacent to Nelson Mandela Square, two of the most prestigious and sophisticated shopping complexes in Africa. The spacious malls are ideal for walking, browsing, sitting over coffee, eating or shopping. They offer over 50 restaurants, ranging from the relaxed and casual to the elegantly formal. More than 200 shops are renowned for local and international fashion, specialist diamond and jewellery stores, and an abundance of African art, crafts and curios.

Upcoming Events
17 - 19 July 2004
BEAUTY AFRICA
Leading trade and consumer expo in Africa representing all spheres of the beauty industry including cosmetics, hair, nails and beauty sectors. Pam Dillon - SA Rai - Tel: +27 11 549 8300, Fax: +27 11 549 8532,
E-mail: pam@rai.co.za. www.beautyafrica.co.za

23 - 25 July 2004
NATIONAL ANTIQUES AND DECORATIVE ARTS
A beautiful exhibition showing a treasure trove of antiques and collectables. Clyde Terry - Clyde on 4th - 011 482-3266

24 - 26 July 2004
JEWELLEX
Trade exhibition for the jewellery industry. Lorna Delport - Nine Dots - 011 880-1713

30 July - 2 August 2004
SA FASHION WEEK
This is an icon event of the SA Industry and the local cultural landscape. Lucilla Booyzen - Soda Productions - 011 442-7812

17 - 19 August 2004
THAILAND EXHIBITION
Exhibition to promote trade between Thailand and South Africa. Martin Wolter-Grossmann - Royal Thai Embassy - 012 342-0850

17 - 19 September 2004
WIKID
It's hip and it's happening - the expo for toddlers to teens. Lidia van Straten - SA RAI - 011 549-8300

29 September 2004 - 1 October 2004
MADE IN NIGERIA 2004
The exhibition will showcase the best of Nigeria. Investment opportunities will be exposd across the industrial, commercial and cultural industries of Nigeria. Also on show will be raw materials, semi-finished and finished goods for export.

8 - 10 October 2004
SAFURN 2004
SAFURN is a furniture exhibition with an international exhibitor and visitor profile. Andrew Binning, Inkanyezi 086 110 1475

15 - 17 October
AUDIO VIDEO PHOTO-DIGITAL EXHIBITION
The Audio Video Appliance Expo incorporating Photo Digital & Cellular, will be South Africa's leading retail consumer electronics exhibition showcasing the latest on offer from the industry. Consumers will have the opportunity to touch, feel, listen, see & experience the new world of Consumer Electronics. There will be "lots to buy, lots to win". Exhibitors include: Samsung, Sony, Panasonic, LG Electronics, Defy, Whirlpool, AEG, Miele, Canon, Minolta, Olympus, Fujifilm, Nikon & many more top brands. Tracy Gruar - 011 979-1322

26 - 29 October 2004
WINEX
Consumer wine festival featuring well-known and lesser well-known wine estates. Janice Fridjohn - Out Sorceress - 011 482-5936

Articles: June 25, 2004 By Lucille Davie - www.joburg.org.za
& www.saconvention.co.za