Developments lure big businesses into Soweto

Staff Reporter

Staff Reporter

The City of Johannesburg Property Company (JPC) is spending R4,1million to develop two sites in Meadowlands, Soweto, said the company's general manager of property development, Sthembiso Mntungwa, yesterday.

The mixed-use sites, which are to be known as the Meadowpoint Precinct and the Meadowlands Erf 25506, would see several areas being rezoned to bring businesses to the township.

"These developments are another step towards our goal, and that of the City of Johannesburg, of developing Soweto into a modern metropolis by providing Sowetan's with attractive retail, accommodation, cultural and open-space choices that are closer to home and not in neighbouring suburbs," said Mntungwa.

Interest from property developers has increased over the past few years as industry experts believe that it has the potential to become a major business hub.

Shopping centre developers have been particularly active with at least six retail developments planned for Soweto, adding 150000 square metres of retail space valued at more than R1billion.

Leading property expert Francois Viruly has said that traditional markets and more established areas were becoming increasingly more difficult to develop because of high building costs and the limited amount of available space.

He believes this will see property investors shifting their focus towards "brownfield" projects - land that has previously been used or built on and that could be redeveloped for modern use.

City of Johannesburg project consultant Lebo Ramoreboli said last month that the biggest challenges surrounding the township boom were "creating jobs and converting informal retail trade into sustainable formal trade". - With Sapa