Another new tenant moves into revitalized inner city

Another new tenant moves into revitalized inner cityGauteng Opera's new premises on the corner of Anderson and Miriam Makeba Streets in Ferreirasdorp.

Johannesburg's inner city regeneration drive, which is being spearheaded by the Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA), is luring investors and businesses back into Newtown, Braamfontein, Ferreirasdorp and other neighbourhoods in the CBD.

Gauteng Opera Chief Operating Officer Arnold Cloete'We found we were doing more and more work in Johannesburg' - Gauteng Opera Chief Operating Officer Arnold Cloete.Joining the new wave of returnees and first-time entrants is Gauteng Opera - formerly The Black Tie Ensemble - an all-round performing arts and entertainment company that specialises in opera productions, concerts and events.

The company moved from Pretoria into its new premises on the corner of Anderson and Miriam Makeba Streets in Ferreirasdorp in January this year, and Chief Operating Officer Arnold Cloete says they don't regret their decision.

In an interview with the JDA earlier this month, Cloete said they decided to relocate after realising that they were doing more and more work in Johannesburg following a decline in demand for and sponsorship of opera in Pretoria.

Arts industry 'more alive in Joburg'

"We discovered that the arts industry was more alive in Johannesburg, and we believe a lot more will be happening in the future."

After searching for many months, they finally found a disused, dilapidated building in Ferreirasdorp, saw the potential of the premises and the location, and conducted renovations before moving in.

Their new location places them within easy reach of the arts and cultural precinct of Newtown, home of the Market Theatre, as well as the Wits Theatre and Joburg Theatre in Braamfontein and the Linder Auditorium in Parktown.

"The only problem we face is finding transport for our artists in the evening after they finish rehearsals."

'We look forward to being part of the growth'

Cloete said Gauteng Opera was upbeat on the future of the creative and performing arts in Johannesburg. "We look forward to the future and being part of the growth taking place in the inner city," he said.

Between 2007 and 2012, under the Inner City Charter, the City spent almost R2-billion on greening public spaces, upgrading derelict buildings, developing the Rea Vaya bus rapid transit (BRT) system, upgrading housing and other infrastructure, and making the inner city more eco-friendly.

The recently launched Inner City Roadmap takes this process further, building on the successes that have been achieved through partnerships and precinct-level planning to provide a holistic, area-based approach to creating an inner city that is well-governed, clean and safe, sustainable, productive and inclusive.

The JDA, whose involvement has been key to the successes achieved so far in the inner city, will act as development facilitator for the Roadmap, implementing both capital projects initiated by the City and collaborative projects with the private sector.

The JDA will also administer a new dedicated Inner City Repairs and Maintenance Fund, which will be set up to allow for rapid repairs and maintenance of basic infrastructure such as sidewalks, streetlights and signage in the inner city.