In Johannesburg, inner city dwellers now have a wide choice of new and affordable apartments, thanks to developments over the past few years.
The urban regeneration projects in the inner city of Johannesburg have seen massive private investments over the last two decades.
Urban regeneration refers to developments that aim to address the decay in city spaces by improving the physical environment. For example, old buildings are given a new lease of life by way of restoration, or, in some cases, are converted from office buildings to residential units.
Examples of urban regeneration projects include what are now ‘places to see and be seen’ such as Braamfontein and Maboneng – thriving neighbourhoods offering a live-work-play lifestyle at affordable prices.
Jewel City, the latest inner city redevelopment, was launched in September 2020 and is an extension of Maboneng.
The development, with a price tag of R1.8bn, is a Divercity Urban Property Fund project. The fund worked closely with the City of Johannesburg to clean up the area and ensure safety for its residents and commercial owners in the precinct and surrounds.
Divercity invests exclusively in inner city precincts that offer low and middle income households the opportunity to live in urban environments close to where they work.
Jewel City connects to the landmark Arts on Main – with art galleries, artists’ studios, eateries and shops, and it extends across six city blocks towards Divercity’s redeveloped iconic Absa Towers Main.
The mixed-use Jewel City includes 2,700 apartments and 20,000m2 of retail and office space, with amenities including play areas, schools, medical facilities, recreation and public art.
Jewel City apartments
Within the precinct are three residential blocks – The Diamond, The Emerald and The Onyx, offering rental apartments only. These include bachelor units and one- and two-bedroom units of varying sizes to accommodate different lifestyles, families and income levels, says Carel Kleynhans, Divercity Urban Property Fund CEO.
He says rentals start from R3,399 per month for bachelor units, R4,199 for one-bedroom units and R5,199 for two-bedroom units.
The apartment buildings feature sleek interiors and modern finishes including 24-hour security, biometric access control, a live-in building manager, LED lights, secure parking, outdoor recreational areas such as children’s play areas, braai and entertainment areas, DSTV and OpenView connections, pay-as-you-go fibre internet, metered electricity and water, laundromats and washing lines.
“Jewel City is a true live-work-play precinct with shops, restaurants, a school, a clinic, children’s play areas and recreation spaces – all at an affordable price and close to public transport,” says Kleynhans.
Precious Dube, who used to live in Doornfontein, not far from Jewel City, moved into The Diamond building last year.
She says she was attracted by the live-work-play lifestyle, and the fact that it is a safe and quiet place to live.
“Although my previous place was also in the inner city, it didn’t have the kind of amenities one can find here. I am now able to walk to the shops and enjoy a relaxed lunch or a cup of coffee within walking distance to my apartment,” says Dube.
Dube says that when looking for accommodation, it’s no longer enough to have a place with four walls. It needs to offer more, something which these apartments have, compared to buildings that have not been revamped.
As a young person living in the inner city, she enjoys taking a stroll in a neighbourhood knowing she is safe. The precinct is well-lit with strategically placed CCTV cameras.
When she is not working, Dube enjoys a good workout at the gym and catching up with friends within the greater Maboneng Precinct.
Jewel City developers tried to think of everything to make inner city living attractive. Much was invested in creating a place for people to enjoy, from transplanting 200 large established trees to providing public seating, an interactive fountain for children, public art and more.
Shopping and facilities include Shoprite, Clicks, Pep, Afrodite Hair and Salon, Roots Butchery and Grill, McDonalds, Chicken Licken, PostNet, Capitec Bank branch, Jewel City Medical Centre, Fives Futbol ‘five-a-side’ soccer fields, Curro Jewel City, a DigiEd High School, basketball court, childcare facilities, and an urban park with outdoor relaxation areas, and other outlets and amenities to make life more attractive.
The precinct has a people-friendly walkway along Fox street, and its pedestrian walkways integrate it fully into the Maboneng Precinct. Eight massive murals by local artists adorn the walls of each of the eight buildings that make up Jewel City.
Edited by Gudrun Kaiser