The development of Turbine Hall


1.1. The Development Partners

The Newtown Development forms a key component of both the City of Johannesburg's inner city urban renewal plan and the Gauteng Province's "Plan for a Smart Province" falling under the auspices of Blue IQ. Public sector investment in infrastructure, urban upgrading, and programming (by national, provincial and local government) exceeds R 300 million since 2001, creating the platform for new private sector investment.

1.2. Location

The Newtown Precinct is located at the western sector of Johannesburg CBD, covering the area stretch from the marshalling yards and railway lines to the north, the M2 motorway in the south, West Street in the east and the M1 motorway to the west. This historic area of Johannesburg already has a strong cultural base in the form of a number of memorable buildings, including the museums, galleries and theatres, and is well placed to become the cultural heart of Johannesburg.

1.3. Vision

Newtown is the creative capital of Johannesburg and Africa: dynamic, vibrant, sophisticated, and cosmopolitan, boasting the best cultural offerings in Africa.

1.4. Goal

The goal of the project is to increase the cultural offerings, creative production, development and investment in the Newtown in a coordinated and complementary manner, focusing on developing a range of mixed-uses and activities with an emphasis on the creative industries.

1.5. Strategies

i Creating a safe, secure and attractive environment
ii Improving accessibility
iii Creating a critical mass that supports a 24 hour city
iv Promoting and developing the cultural offerings and visitor attractions in Newtown and developing a cluster within the creative industries


Turbine Hall, considered one of the finest examples of industrial architecture in Johannesburg, occupies a land mark site in Newtown, situated at the "gateway to Newtown" on Miriam Makeba (formerly Bezuidenhout) and Jeppe Streets. It is a listed heritage site, but over the years has fallen into serious decay. Its current state has long been cited as the major impediment to private sector investment in the area of Newtown, and it serves as a stark marker of the general decay that has previously characterised Newtown. Its development will be an important symbol of the progressive realisation of the Newtown vision.

In 1990, the then Johannesburg City Council sold the property to Turbine Square (Pty) Ltd for R 22, 1 million. Although the purchase price was paid, transfer was not affected, and the development planned by the purchaser did not materialise. The Company (Turbine Square (Pty) Ltd) is now jointly owned by Nedcor and Tiber Bonvic.

After extensive negotiations with the Company it was agreed in late 2003 that transfer would be passed to the Company in accordance with the provisions of the agreement reached in 1990. The City of Johannesburg Property Company is in the process of passing transfer of the property.

For many years the neglected building was home to a large number of squatters who were subsequently relocated in 2000. The occupation of the building by squatters has resulted in some structural damage to the building, which stood mothballed until April 02, when minor repairs (the replacement of the roof and cleaning of the boiler room) were undertaken to enable the facility to be utilised for major events in Newtown.


After extensive negotiations with both the City and Turbine Square (Pty) Ltd that started in 2000, AngloGold Ashanti decided in late 2004 that it would develop its global headquarters in a portion of Turbine Hall. This decision was based on a number of factors, including AngloGold Ashanti's commitment to the City and the Mayor's inner city renewal programme. However, fundamental to the decision was the fact that the City had indicated its desire to develop a new art gallery in a portion of Turbine Hall. In terms of initial planning, the northern boiler room will be demolished, and AngloGold Ashanti will occupy new buildings on the northern edge of the site along Jeppe Street, sitting on top of new basement parking providing bays for over 500 vehicles, and serving both the offices as well as the new Gallery.

The southern boiler room will be developed and will provide major covered public space with some retail and hospitality offerings. This will provide space for temporary exhibitions, installations and events as well as a route to the Gallery and AngloGold Ashanti.

The new Gallery will occupy the Turbine Hall (excluding that space still utilised by City Power), with the possibility for additional new space to be developed within the Turbine Hall site on the decked area.

The possibility exits for the development by Turbine Square of a new retail area along Miriam Makeba Street, onto the roof of which the first floor of the Gallery would open providing additional outdoor exhibition and eventing space. The retail would provide new, required retail space in Newtown to enhance the limited retail and hospitality offer that currently exists in Newtown.


Ownership of the entire site will be transferred to Turbine Square (Pty) Ltd. The City's investment in the Gallery will be protected through mechanisms to be determined, but will in all likelihood take the form of a registered long lease over the Gallery portions.

The Boiler House will be treated as common area, and its management undertaken by the owner of the building in terms of agreements with and input from AngloGold Ashanti, the Gallery and the retailers in the Hall.

November 2004