The future Manhattan of Joburg?
Well this might be a glamorous by-line but if infrastructure, traffic access, services and occupancy do not meet the supply of the huge number of new buildings going up in Rosebank, it’s going to be another business district snarl-up like Sandton. However it does seem that there is a conscious effort to make the area more pedestrian friendly and to make a green belt from Tyrwhitt Ave to Baker Street between Jan Smuts in the west and Oxford in the east. (See sketch plan below). Plus in keeping with current construction trends, most buildings are being built to a Prime Grade standard to reach a minimum of a 4 Star Green Star rating.
Rosebank as a village hub
Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be. Who remembers the Odeon Cinema on Oxford Rd; the Belfast clock marking the meeting spot for teenagers on a Saturday afternoon; the Kelvin Grove – the Saturday lunch student hangout place; the OK Bazaars with the internal stairs from the parking lot on the west side giving a birds eye view of the entire ground floor as you descended; and that steakhouse institution – the Golden Spur? All long long gone. Rosebank is unrecognizable even from 3 years ago.
Map of Rosebank development
When the Gautrain established a station in Rosebank, it was bound to happen- a huge flurry of development. While of course I drive to and through Rosebank often – it’s only 3km from Liz at Lancaster – I had not internalized all the demolitions, new buildings and general development. Plus when guests staying here at LizatLancaster Guesthouse ask where ‘X’ building is, I need to be able to direct them. So here’s a summary as of September 2018. But of course, the urbanscape will look very different in only a few months. I’m afraid that as there was way too much info to write names of buildings on the sketch plan, I have identified them with the following letters and a legend below:
- H for hotels
- R for residential developments
- O for office buildings
- V for other sites of interest like shopping malls, art galleries and the Gautrain station
And please forgive the crude hand-drawn plan. Liz at Lancaster is 3.6km from the Gautrain Station (V7) via Eastwood Road and 2.9 km to the Keyes Art Mile (V1) via 1st Ave East (which runs parallel to Jan Smuts).
Office buildings and corporate headquarters
The media blurb for the Link reads: “Redefine Properties’ new premium development, Rosebank Link, is set to become Rosebank skyline’s newest icon [now completed October 2018]. Towering an impressive 15 storeys high, the building [consists] of two basement parking levels, a pedestrian walkway with ground floor retail space, a five-level parkade, and eight storeys of rentable office space.”
And the largest and most ambitious of developments is Oxford Park being developed by Intaprop. Here is an artist’s impression of the full development (300,000 square metres) comprising major new buildings stretching all the way from Jellicoe Ave to Bompas Rd. It has been proposed that 200,000 square metres be dedicated to offices and ancillary retail, and 100,000 square metres reserved for residential use. One wonders when supply will finally properly exceed demand. More on Oxford Park
And with the office developments comes the demand for so-called executive apartments.
Shopping and retail
The stores added to The Rosebank Mall (V4) have expanded the shopping offerings and while it adds to the glitz and glamour it has also, sadly, I think, taken the Mall into the realm of the bland international chic of Sandton City and every other Joburg Mall sameness. In addition, clearly to control the retail footprint ensuring potential consumers walk the length of the Mall, strategic escalators have been removed. Plus the restaurants and coffee bars are all clustered on the north east making, for example, a quick bite near the movies and parking on the other side of the Mall, very difficult. There have also been upgrades to The Zone (V6) and The Firs (v5). The Firs has a great courtyard where there are some excellent restaurants. There is a Doppio Zero, Khoi and a Fishmonger to name but a few.
And of course Rosebank still offers the wonderful Rosebank Sunday Market on the rooftop of the Rosebank Mall.
It seems there is a major development along Keyes Avenue towards Rosebank Road with every 2nd house having been demolished leaving vacant properties.
Watch this space for more major developments in Lower Rosebank.