So says Neil Fraser, executive director of the Central Johannesburg Partnership.
Quoted in Rode and Associates's Property News, Fraser says this resurgence has come as a major turnaround from what he calls the "short-sighted decision" the city planners made in the '60s and '70s in restricting the number of parking bays in any construction project.
"This was a major factor in the downward spiral of the Johannesburg business district.
"Coupled with traffic congestion in and out of the city, lack of adequate street parking, high rates, high rentals and building costs, many companies started to move out to new areas where such restrictions did not apply. Crime and grime then moved in."
Parking is increasingly regarded as a crucial factor in the success of any CBD revitalisation project.
At the recent Rode Conference in Cape Town, property broker Theodore Yach said that for obsolete CBD buildings to be given a new lease of life through conversion to residential use, parking within 100m is crucial.
In Cape Town, buildings converted to residential use and with on-site parking could yield R15 000 to R17 000 per square metre, whereas those without parking would typically fetch only about R4 000 per square metre, Yach told the conference.
Fraser says earlier this year in Johannesburg, Liberty Life completed a 370- bay parking garage in Braamfontein for its staff.
Also, about 1 860 bays are under construction in the Constitution Hill super-basement.
Also being built are:
- 430 underground parking bays off Simmonds Street for Sappi staff and Civic Theatre patrons; n350 bays for the JD group in Braamfontein;
- A 1 012-bay parking facility for FNB at Bank City; n1 000 bays at the Standard Bank superblock;
- A 200-bay parking garage at 80 Marshall Street; and
- A new staff parking facility of 830 bays at the Absa campus.
According to Fraser, 6 052 bays are under construction or have been completed at an overall cost of R30-million. "In addition, new projects in Newtown that will start this year will have provision for parking for 500 cars while an R8-million contract has been awarded to convert disused railway sidings in Newtown into public parking."