Inner city regeneration brings new life to Ponte City

Yeoville HDR 654

Once notorious for housing gangs and brothels, the striking Ponte tower is now a symbol of Joburg's inner city regeneration. The newly refurbished building is home to families and young professionals, going about their lives.

Looking at Joburg's skyline, one can't help but notice the 54-storey circular tower, which, at 173 m, commands respect as one of the city's tallest residential buildings.

A striking urban landmark in Hillbrow, the cylindrical structure - designed by, among others, architect, Rodney Grosskopf - was constructed in 1975 to house the city's white elite. The building featured amenities such as shopping stores on the ground floor, a hairdressing salon, a bowling alley and a concert venue, but fell to illegal gangs during the eighties and early nineties.

In 1995, Kempston Group, a trucking and logistics company bought the derelict building and by 2011 completed its restoration. With the help of building management team Elma and Danie Celliers, Ponte was renovated and now the building is fully occupied, and a sought-after address.

All 54 floors, 467 flats, were refitted with new wiring and plumbing. But for Quinton Oosthuizen, the construction and maintenance manager, the toughest task was clearing out the building's core, into which previous residents had thrown their waste.

Eight new elevators were installed and strict security implemented to ensure residents' safety.

The flats at Ponte City are available for rental only, with rents varying from R2 000 to R4 500 per month depending on the flat size.