Executive Mayor of Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba speaking at the Divercity Urban Property Fund for a sod-turning ceremony for Jewel City redevelopment. Photo: Dimpho Maja/AfricanNewsAgency (ANA)

JOHANNESBURG – The City of Johannesburg has kicked off the R1.2 billion redevelopment of a 40 000m² area in the central business district which will see the construction of a new precinct boasting a school, clinic, gym, parking space, shops, fast food outlets and restaurants.

Jewel City has been closed to the public for decades and spans six blocks that were previously the heart of the diamond and precious metals trade in Johannesburg.

In the first phase of redevelopment by urban property fund Divercity, the new modern inner-city neighbourhood will include 1 200 new residential apartments, with another 1 000 added in the second phase.

The development is expected to create an estimated 1 279 temporary jobs and 1 384 permanent jobs, contributing to the municipal and national tax base.

On Monday, Divercity’s major shareholders and stakeholders, Atterbury Property, Ithemba Property and Talis Property Fund as well as its cornerstone investors RMH Property and Nedbank Property Partners, attended a ceremony where Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba turned the first sod.

"This is a catalyst for igniting the city of Johannesburg. We are a city with a housing backlog of 300 000 and 160 000 of our people are looking for accommodation," Mashaba said.

"One in three people in Johannesburg is unemployed and if Johannesburg isn’t working, South Africa has no chance of succeeding … This project is very important, not just for Johannesburg but also for South Africa, it’s important for Africa.”

The first tranche of retail, commercial and residential space is expected to be ready by next October next year, while completion of the precinct is targetted for 2020.

African News Agency/ANA