Newtown's Billion Rand Development Opens For Business | Protesters Disrupt Proceedings

The continued redevelopment of Newtown in Johannesburg is gathering pace with the grand phased opening of a R1.3 billion property investment in the CBD precinct by Atterbury and Attacq, financed by Nedbank;  helping to restore its iconic standing as one of the country’s thriving marketplaces. 

Nedbank’s decision to invest in the Newtown Junction development, specifically in the Junction and Majestic precincts, stems from its firm belief that Johannesburg’s inner city has – and continues - to play a vital role in the greater South African economy.  As such, SA’s leading green bank, which has already been involved in the success of the nearby Maboneng Precinct, made the decision to consolidate its downtown Johannesburg office into the Newtown Junction development which has taken almost two years to complete.

“Nedbank is committed to playing a fundamental role in the regeneration of Newtown, which is at the heart of Johannesburg’s rich history,”
says Charl de Kock, Nedbank’s Head of Property Services.   
“While this forms part of our ongoing support for the local government’s investment in City Improvement Districts, we are positive that the investment here will also fulfil our mandate of making sustainable social and economic benefits for the country and its people a reality.”  
The bank will occupy 36 000m² office space in the mixed-use development which, in addition to the Nedbank Newtown Campus, features various retail outlets including Shoprite, Pick n Pay, Mr Price, The Foschini Group and Planet Fitness gym. The mall is also in close proximity to Newtown’s existing art and cultural spaces such as the well-known Museum Africa and Mary Fitzgerald Square.
  “Taking the lead from the city’s inner city regeneration efforts, Nedbank is in full support of the growing trend towards mixed-use developments, such as the Newtown Junction. We have observed this to be the ideal solution for making optimal use of existing urban property assets, whilst offering attractive returns for investors,” adds de Kock. 

Aiming for a 4 Star rating from the Green Building Council of South Africa, Nedbank’s new campus will represent the bank’s 5th green building, emblematic of the bank’s leading position as both a financier and occupier in the green building revolution and also for creating a great place to work. 

The development incorporates ‘green’ designs with the use of sustainable material and building practices, forming the solid foundation for the bank’s vision of contributing to a sustainable built environment that promotes environmental preservation – and the development of South Africa’s emerging green economy. 

In addition to the office space, the development will feature the Nedbank ‘branch of the future’ aimed at delivering a choice of distinctive banking experiences and channels of choice for the 21st century personal and business banking client, through innovation and cutting edge technology. 

Protesters Disrupt The Proceeding...

The launch event did not go without any mishaps thorugh.  Police Officers had to be called to the scene when a group of protesters disrupted the proceeding. The group whon idetified themselves as members of the ANCYL said they were protesting about not being given jobs at the mall. 

The group believes that because its members live within the inner city, they should have bee given preference for employment over those living in other areas such as Soweto.

They were reportedly also upset that they were not involved in the development and blame their local councillor Nokuthula Xaba. 

According to the protesters, they were promised that the mall would absorb 80 percent of unemployment in the area, but in fact, absorbed only five percent. 

The MEC for Economic Development, Lebogang Maile had to step in a quell the situation which at some point had turned ugly with the group chanting derogatory remarks at the councillor, who was not even on the scene.

The MEC assured the protesters that their grievances would be looked into and offered the group the food that was meant for the guests. Thanks to his assurances, the group dispersed and the proceeding we resumed. 

Nedbank and the media co-coordinating team apologized to the guests for the chaos and offered the media contingency refreshment at another venue. 

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