When big business withdrew from Johannesburg’s inner city in the 90’s, decay took hold and many buildings were abandoned. Over time, these buildings were vandalised, stripped of anything valuable and occupied by squatters. Compromised building infrastructure coupled with a lack of water and electricity, overcrowding and crime led to these buildings being referred to as ‘bad buildings’ and they became a blight on the face of the city.
But the face of the city is getting a makeover. In recent years, various entities have taken it upon themselves to reclaim the city’s bad buildings and convert them into attractive, healthy spaces once more. The Johannesburg Social Housing Company (JOSHCO) is just one such company which appears to be making real inroads in this arena.
JOSHCO has redeveloped a number of bad buildings in Johannesburg’s inner city into good quality, affordable rental accommodation. Currently, according to JOSHCO, approximately 25 0000 people are living in the company’s units which are spread across 22 projects within the inner city and surrounds.
The following are a few of the buildings JOSHCO has refurbished in the inner city:
• La Rosabel (Hillbrow) – 50 communal units
• Chelsea (Hillbrow) – 80 communal units
• Casa Mia (Berea) – 179 mixed units
• MBV (Loveday Street) -184 communal units
• Raschers (Loveday Street) – 87 communal units
• BG Alexander (Hillbrow) – 380 mixed units
• Europa House (Claim Street) – 178 mixed units
• Lynatex (Doornfontein) -160 emergency accommodation units
• JOSHCO is also redeveloping a hostel in Selby and another project in City Deep is underway
JOSHCO plans to transform more bad buildings in the near future. Indeed, it is the aim of the company to eventually provide around 16, 000 units throughout Johannesburg. Through doing so, the company hopes to significantly enhance the supply of quality housing for people who live and work in the city centre.
Rory Gallocher, CEO of JOSHCO commented: “By transforming buildings that have fallen into a bad state of disrepair, we are responding to the need for quality and affordable rental accommodation in the inner city and are helping make the inner city a good place for people to live and work. We are justifiably proud of what we have achieved in the inner city and in other parts of Johannesburg over the past few years but there is still much that we can do. There are still a lot of bad buildings in and around the inner city which need to be overhauled.”
Importantly, not only does JOSHCO redevelop bad buildings, it also ensures that they are well managed after they have been revamped and leased. As such, tenants can rent a JOSHCO property safe in the knowledge that the building will be maintained and that services such as electricity, water, sewerage and garbage removal will be carried out. Security protocols are also incorporated into each building.
“There is growing demand for affordable accommodation in the inner city and JOSHCO will certainly continue to play a role in increasing supply to this end. Access to safe, clean, affordable and well managed residential accommodation will attract residents and ensure that Johannesburg’s inner city regeneration will be sustainable for many years to come,” concludes Gallocher.