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Monday Oct 27, 2014

Durban art deco building to be 'jewel of the city'

Durban's CBD is set for a dynamic revamp with one of its prominent buildings, Prefcor House, which houses Game, being turned into the "jewel of the city".

An artist's impression of Durban's popular Prefcor House in the middle of Dr Pixley ka-Isaka Seme (West) Street.

And this is expected to be the first of a number of buildings that will be revamped to include modern flats, turning the CBD into a suburb and not just a place to work.

Maxine Keet, the Durban operations director for urban regeneration company Propertuity, said the revamp of the building would stimulate development in the area, and fell in line with the eThekwini municipality's plans to regenerate the area.

Propertuity is well known for its development of Maboneng, which is a privately developed urban neighbourhood on the east side of the Joburg CBD. The urban space was turned into a bustling community of retailers, restaurants, loft apartments, a hotel, a museum and factory spaces.

Propertuity also owns the building in Morrison Street, which falls within Durban's new Rivertown arts and culture precinct, and is the place for the weekly Sunday morning market.

Now, Durban's CBD could also take on a similar bustling feel once the development kicks off in January.

Keet said they were identifying buildings for refurbishment, with Prefcor House, which will soon be called Pixley House, being the first.

"We want to stimulate and create neighbourhoods and new cultural economies, where people can live and be entertained," she said.

Prefcor House, an art-deco building built in 1938, is situated in the middle of Dr Pixley ka-Isaka Seme (West) Street, and houses the busy Game store on the ground floor with various other companies occupying its 10 storeys.

It will be revamped into a modern block with one- and two-bedroom apartments, studio apartments and space for two penthouses.

There are also plans for a gym and restaurant.

There will be 115 apartments with units priced from R360 000.

The project is set to start in January with the apartments ready for occupation by September, said Keet.

The company is working with Durban-based architecture studio designworkshop: SA on the revamp.

Andrew Makin, of designworkshop:SA, said: "We are collaborating with Propertuity to design and deliver a number of mixed residential, hotel, commercial, cultural and retail projects in the greater Durban area. Pixley House will be the first evidence of the transformation of the Durban CBD into an inspiringly diverse and super-liveable environment, with the refocus on the global resurgence of urban life and its unbeatable economic, cultural and social benefits".

The eThekwini municipal manager, Sibusiso Sithole, said the city welcomed initiatives to boost urban regeneration.

"We want more people to be able to live in the city and work there as well, and living near to your place of work means having a lesser carbon footprint and less time travelling," said Sithole.

    
 

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