Atterbury eyes new projects as Newtown revival accelerates

Artist's impression of the completed Joburg City Auto BMW and Joburg City Auto Ford dealershipsArtist's impression of the completed Joburg City Auto BMW and Joburg City Auto Ford dealerships, currently being built by Atterbury Property on the northern boundary of Newton, directly across the railway tracks from Braamfontein. (Image: Atterbury Property Holdings - CLICK ON IMAGE FOR LARGER VERSION)

Atterbury Property Holdings is proud to be at the head of the new wave of private sector investment in inner city Johannesburg, and excited at the prospect of more to come as the City of Joburg's inner city regeneration drive accelerates.

Construction under way on the site of the new motor dealershipsConstruction under way on the site of the new motor dealerships in Newtown, with Old Park Station and the Nelson Mandela Bridge visible in the background. (Photo: Rudo Mungoshi - CLICK ON IMAGE FOR LARGER VERSION).According to Atterbury Property development manager Derrick Pautz, the company has set its sights on transforming Newtown into a mecca for innovators, entrepreneurs and residents across the income spectrum.

Atterbury Property is one of a growing number of investors who - reassured by the seriousness of the City's intent to revitalise the central business district (CBD) - have taken the leap of faith and returned to an inner city that was abandoned by investors in the 1990s and still considered a no-go area 10 years ago.

R1.3bn Newtown Junction heralds start of new wave of investment

In September 2014, Atterbury Property and Attacq opened the R1.3bn Newtown Junction mixed-use development in the heart of Newtown, adjacent the M1 freeway and next door to the Market Theatre.

The 85 000m² property was the biggest multi-use development built in Johannesburg's CBD since the Carlton Centre was built there in the 1970s. It comprises a shopping centre, prime office space, gym, basement parking - and now also a three-star hotel.

Atterbury Property development manager Derrick PautzAtterbury Property development manager Derrick Pautz outside his office on site in Newtown. (Photo: Rudo Mungoshi).In January 2016, City Lodge Hotel Group announced the opening of the first phase of the 148-room City Lodge Hotel Newtown - the group's first hotel in downtown Johannesburg and the first big-brand hotel to open in the CBD in more than two decades.

Atterbury's third consecutive Newtown project up and running

And in the same month, Atterbury got going on their third major development in Newtown, the construction of two new motor dealerships just opposite the Newtown Junction shopping centre.

The Joburg City Auto BMW and Joburg City Auto Ford dealerships are being built for the Joburg City Auto franchise at a development cost of around R170-million.

"We have seen the potential of Newtown," Pautz said in an interview this week. "It's now becoming a larger urban place. We're now comfortable in this area and trying to bring together a creative community."

The new dealerships are being built for the Joburg City Auto franchiseThe new dealerships are being built for the Joburg City Auto franchise at a development cost of around R170-million. (Photo: Rudo Mungoshi).Pautz said the dealership represented a "major infusion" in the inner city and the city's economy as a whole. "It will create jobs, both temporary construction positions and permanent jobs in the long run. In my view, this will enhance the whole city."

City's huge portfolio of inner city projects

The drive to regenerate the CBD and other inner city areas, spearheaded by the Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA), began around 2001 and has been gaining momentum ever since.

Over the last 15 years, the City has spent well over R2-billion on a huge and diverse portfolio range of projects, including upgrading street environments, greening public spaces, restoring historic buildings, transforming derelict structures into affordable modern apartments, and much, much more.

And the pace and scale of projects is set to increase. In April, construction got under way on the City's latest, the Kazerne Intermodal Transport Facility between Braamfontein and Newtown, just east of the Queen Elizabeth Bridge.

The R400-million project, which the JDA is overseeing, will provide much-needed holding and ranking space for long-distance and cross-border taxis and buses, and include 3 100 square metres of retail space, including space for 160 stalls.

Pautz said he believed the ongoing revival of the inner city would continue to draw people back into the inner city, and to spark further new investment. He knew of a number of investors that had been looking into possible projects in the CBD, and his own company had plans to acquire pockets of land to the north and the east of Newtown Junction for future development.

"We're looking at possible developments, and we would like to work with the JDA and all local players," Pautz said.