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Monday Oct 08, 2012

Newtown potato sheds to be transformed by R1.3 billion property makeover

Long-derelict potato sheds in Newtown, Johannesburg are being redeveloped into a mixed-used development comprising a shopping centre,offices,hotel,gym, and four levels of basement parking.

An artist's impression of Newtown Junction.

"Newtown Junction will preserve Joburg's history and revitalise our heritage", says Atterbury Property Developments' managing director, James Ehlers.

"Besides creating an exciting, relevant shopping and leisure asset for Joburg and its citizens, we estimate 1 700 people will be employed in the development project."

Cobus van Heerden, Atterbury's director of retail, says the retail, restaurant and office development is geared to further revitalise Joburg's historical Newtownprecinct.

"Newtown is in Johannesburg's inner city, and it's Newtown's historical but long-derelict potato shed buildings that are being transformed into Newtown Junction. These buildings between Museum Africa, Mary Fitzgerald Square and Carr Street were originally built as open sheds in 1912 to supply and store produce for the market complex. The potato sheds were built beside the rail siding as most produce transported into Johannesburg arrived by train. The poultry shed and the original station master's residence will also be part of the development.

"The heritage-inspired design will retain and restore historical landmarks, and because of the age and significance of the buildings the development is following heritage regulations.

"The buildings will be sensitively adapted into a quality shopping centre that celebrates the cultural significance of the site and its buildings.

"The architecture will be a mix of old fa├žades and new structures. This fits with Newtown's identity which blends old and new. Newtown Junction will have strong connection to its dynamic, cosmopolitan surrounds, which includes some of the city's cultural attractions. A walkway and historical railway bridge will link Newtown Junction with Museum Africa and the Market Theatre, creating a connected and walkable city experience, strengthening the entire node's appeal."

A major plus for Newtown Junction is its accessibility. By road, Newtown Junction is easy to see from the landmark Nelson Mandela Bridge, which provides easy access from the north.

Rail commuters have the choice of train and Gautrain from the nearby Park Station, and a variety of bus and taxi services also run in the Newton Junction node.

The proposed hotel will enable tourists to stay in the inner city and experience the diversity of nearby Joburg attractions.

Construction work started in April and excavation of the fourlevel basement is about 80 percent complete.

The main contractor WBHO will begin building work this month, and the entire project should be completed in two years.

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition)

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