Jozi’s one-stop, inner-city junction

2014-08-03 15:00

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Picture it. Instead of getting into your car and fleeing the inner city as soon as your working day ends, you head to the gym, get your grocery shopping done and catch a movie?–?all without leaving the heart of Joburg’s CBD.

That’s the sales pitch behind Joburg’s first inner-city mall, the Newtown Junction.

The mall boasts Nedbank as its anchor tenant, occupying a building that used to be The Majestic, a boutique hotel.

Elsewhere in the 30?000m² space you’ll find Ster-Kinekor, Planet Fitness, a food court, Pick n Pay, Mr Price, Foschini and Truworths.

On the face of it, it’s a modern development, but in a city that’s full of shopping malls, history and culture are key to making the Newtown Junction tick.

The mall will be physically linked to The Market theatre, Museum Africa and Mary Fitzgerald Square.

Mashabane Rose Associates, one of the three architecture firms involved in the project, will focus on the heritage component by taking care of the old buildings, restoring them and linking the old with the new.

Jeremy Rose, a principal architect at Mashabane Rose Associates, said they wanted to bring people back to the city so they could reintroduce the history and heritage of Newtown while creating a safe environment.

“We have kept the historical buildings at the bottom and attached them to the new building so that you walk through from the old into the new,” said Rose.

“We have adopted the old potato sheds and the old Edwardian toilets. These are all old structures, the old railway bridges?–?all of that is coming back. You aren’t discarding your history, you are looking after it.”

Phill Mashabane, also a principal architect at Mashabane Rose Associates, said: “What’s nice about this project is that it brings a shopping environment to a growing residential area.

“There is a difficulty of people not wanting to go to Joburg, to Newtown, at night out of fear for their personal safety.

“Now you are going to be able to park in the [Newtown Junction] basement, come up in a lift, walk into the theatre, go to a restaurant, then go home.

“The very same development is influencing Museum Africa and it will also influence the Mary Fitzgerald Square and the other side of Sci-Bono and Baseline.

“You need a safe corridor. The city needs it,” he said.

“We have a plan to connect Mary Fitzgerald, walk through the mall and to the museum.

“Can you imagine the museum connected to the mall? What a brilliant experience that will be.”

The Newtown Junction will open its doors in October.

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