R1.3bn Newtown Junction opens its doors

R1.3bn Newtown Junction opens its doorsNewtown Junction comprises a 38 000m² shopping centre, 39 000m² of office space, a gym, hotel and four levels of basement parking

The R1.3-billion Newtown Junction is one of biggest multi-use developments to open in Johannesburg's CBD since the Carlton Centre in the 1970s.

Gauteng Economic Development MEC Lebogang MaileGauteng Economic Development MEC Lebogang Maile speaks at the opening of the new mallThere was great celebration as the much-anticipated R1.3-billion Newtown Junction mixed-use development opened its doors to the public in downtown Johannesburg on Thursday, 25 September.

Shoppers could already be seen browsing, pushing trolleys and excitedly exploring the massive new mall, which is located between the Market Theatre and Carr Street.

As part of the inner city, Newtown is one of the priority areas identified by the City of Johannesburg for upgrading and development. The Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA) manages these areas on behalf of the City.

One of the CBD's biggest multi-use developments

Owned by Attacq and Atterbury Property Developments, Newtown Junction is one of biggest multi-use developments to open in Johannesburg's central business district (CBD) since the Carlton Centre in the 1970s.

The project saw the old Potato Sheds behind Mary Fitzgerald Square making way for a hotel, offices and retail space. It consists of a 38 000m² shopping centre, 39 000m² of office space, a gym, hotel and four levels of basement parking for 2 400 cars.

Speaking at the opening, Gauteng Economic Development MEC Lebogang Maile said the development would transform the inner city. "We are incredibly excited to be here," Maile said. "This development is a re-dedication to Joburg and the community."

Maile noted that the facility would benefit everyone, including the poorest of the poor.

"This intervention will help us to deal with issues created by apartheid," he said, adding that a permanent solution needed to be found to deal with inequality, poverty and unemployment in the country.

Strong connection to a dynamic neighbourhood

Dancers celebrate the opening of Newtown JunctionDancers celebrate the opening of Newtown JunctionNewtown Junction will have a strong connection to its dynamic, cosmopolitan surroundings, which include some of the city’s most appealing cultural attractions.

A walkway and historic railway bridge will link Newtown Junction with Museum Africa and the Market Theatre, strengthening the appeal of the district as a whole.

Nedbank has created its Newtown Campus in the development and will serve as the primary anchor tenant. Other shopping centre tenants include Pick n Pay, Shoprite, Ster-Kinekor, Truworths, the Foschini Group, Mr Price, Busboys & Poets, and Life Grand Café. The gym will be operated by Planet Fitness.

The opening of the shopping mall follows hot on the heels of the unveiling of Metro Park, a state-of-the-art outdoor recreation area just a few metres away.

Newtown Junction has taken the place of a derelict potato shed building that started out as open sheds in 1910. The sheds were built next to the railway siding, as most produce transported into Johannesburg at the time arrived by train.

The poultry shed and the original station master's residence was also part of the new development.

The project took two years to complete, with construction starting in October 2012 and reaching completion earlier this year.