JDA names inner-city award winners

The Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA) this week once again celebrated inner-city regeneration as it handed out the 2010 Halala Awards, which single out private sector developers working on inner city properties.

‘We will continue to identify, recognise and spotlight those who, through their investments and effort, are contributing to significant regeneration in the inner city, through the Halala Joburg Awards programme,’ said JDA CEO Lael Bethlehem.

She emphasised that rejuvenating a city was a massive task, and the JDA relied on a multitude of partners to transform all the areas of decay.

Johannesburg inner city started experiencing degeneration in the 1980s, and while much had improved, there was still a lot of work to be done in the areas of safety and security, service delivery and urban management in the areas of traffic management, refuse collection and road rehabilitation, for example.

Since 2001, the JDA has spent some R1-billion on upgrading the public environment in certain inner city areas such as Newtown, Braamfontein, Hillbrow, Berea, Yeoville, Greater Ellis Park, Jewel City, the Fashion District and the High Court precinct.

The upgrading of the public facilities has encouraged private sector investment, and private property developers had more than matched the JDA’s amount, with as much as R17-billion invested in the inner city in respect of property purchases, and refurbishment investment and conversion of up to R10-billion.

WORKING AND BUYING JOBURG

This category pays tribute to pioneering and striking commercial office, retail and mixed-use developments. The JDA noted that concept was as critical as design, form, and functionality in this category.

The winner for 2010 was the Zurich Building, on the corner of Marshall and Miriam Makeba streets. Formerly a car park, this building was designed and constructed by the Johannesburg Land Company, and was the first new office building built in the inner city in 15 years.

The JSE-listed insurance company’s new office is a six-storey building with 12 600 m2 of office accommodation, and 300 parking bays.

Other short-listed nominations in this category were the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) head office and conference centre, and the Arts on Main complex.

LIVING JOBURG

This award category, which recognises residential developments, was divided into two sections: One for individual investors and another for corporate investors, which provide inclusive and progressive housing to meet the needs of the inner-city community.

This year’s winner in the individual investor category was the four-storey, 83-room Harmony Galz building on Saratoga Avenue in Berea.

Building owner Josephine Tshaboeng purchased the building after joining the Trust for Urban Housing Finance’s Intuthuko programme, and started renovations in 2009, of what had become decayed building.

Tshaboeng was described as one of the most popular winners of the awards, as she started working as a cleaner in the building in 2000, whereafter she became the caretaker, and finally the owner.

Some R6-million was spent refurbishing the building, which is now home to 128 female students registered at the University of Johannesburg.

The other nomination in this category was the Ekuphumeleni Village in Troyeville.

Scooping the award in the corporate investor category was the Cavendish Chambers on Jeppe street, which was an Affordable Housing Company (Afhco) project.

What was described as a grimy and dilapidated building, now offers 130 luxury affordable housing units, with open plan kitchens, ceramic tiles, 24-hour security, fingerprint access, and Internet and DSTV connection.

Afhco, headed by brothers Wayne Plit and Renney Plit, opened the doors to Cavendish Chambers in September 2009, and already the building is 76% occupied.

The other nomination in the corporate category was another Afhco project, the Greatermans building on Commissioner street.

RELAXING AND PLAYING JOBURG

This category acknowledges creativity and innovation in the built environment, using new and existing building to create recreational experiences, and includes cultural, tourism, entertainment, short-term accommodation and restaurant venues.

The winner of this award for establishing Johannesburg as a recreation destination went to the Arts on Main development, which can be found on Fox street.

Arts on Main – developed in a newly converted early 1900s bonded warehouse – was described as a blend of studio, commercial, residential and retail space, which has become a hub for Johannesburg’s creative community to share and develop ideas.

The space features a restaurant, event and exhibition space, and outdoor cinema, and a rooftop bar, and was developed by Propertuity, which is headed by 26-year old Jonathan Liebmann.

The other nominations in this category were the SAB Miller World of Beer in Newtown, and the Gauteng Department of Education’s science education centre Sci-Bono, also in Newtown.

CARING JOBURG

This category honours selfless and community-minded individuals, volunteer groups and organisations that deliver support services for community development of inner city residents.

Missionaries of Charity Mother Theresa’s Home Johannesburg took the award in this category in 2010.

A home for the vulnerable, destitute and sick in Yeoville, this home was established 13 years ago, and is run by nine sisters and 23 staff members, with the help of volunteers. It provides a 100-bed residence for terminally ill people, and abandoned and orphaned babies and toddlers. Support services for street children, a daily feeding scheme, car, counselling and educational support for resident teenagers are also extended.

The other short-listed nominations were the Inner City Ambassadors Football Club, and the Siyakhana permaculture food garden.

CONSERVING JOBURG

This award recognises outstanding achievement in the conservation (in line with provincial and national heritage policies) of Johannesburg’s built heritage, valued for its historical, social, scientific or architectural importance, which could have otherwise been lost.

Receiving the award for 2010 was the Numsa head office on Bree street. The building was a conversion of a 1930s Edwardian styled building, which was previously the Standard Bank, and then the office of a newspaper publishing company. Numsa then acquired more land and property after recognising the need for large meeting and conference facilities with residential accommodation and restaurant facilities for itself, as well as to provide services to the labour federation and nongovernmental organisations.

The result was that, in place of disparate buildings, a unified and beautiful streetscape, wrapping around one city block, has been created.

The other nomination in this category was Arts on Main.

BELIEVING IN JOBURG

This is an award given to an individual who was seen to have made extraordinary contributions to the regeneration of the inner city, through continued, sustained commitment, which is acknowledged by peers.

Ishmael Mkhabela received this accolade for 2010, and the adjudication panel said that he was ‘a bridge builder whose longstanding and consistent support of social and economic equality and access in the inner city cannot be surpassed.’

SUSTAINING JOBURG

This was a recently added category in the Halala Awards, aimed at recognising projects that have applied innovative and environmentally sound and sensitive approaches to the built environment, in line with the guidelines provided by the Green Building Council of South Africa.

No award was given in this category, as no suitable candidates were forthcoming within the timeframe. (Eng. News, 17 May 2010)

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