In the city centre of Johannesburg Atterbury’s vibrant new Jewel City live, work, play precinct has been steadily rising over the last year. Development manager Derrick Pautz gives a behind the scenes peek.

Please update us about the progress of the different buildings on the site – it has been a very fast process, what has happened since the beginning of 2019?
Our first residential building, The Diamond, is nearing completion with the first residents moving in on the fifth and sixth floors on 1 December. The remainder of the building will be ready for residents by February 2020. The residential new build, The Onyx, is progressing very well – the contractor is currently casting the 10th floor slabs of this 11-storey building. The building will be ready to accept its first residents in May 2020. The remainder of the blocks will be complete between January 2020 and May 2020, dependant on tenant timelines and requirements.

What has been the most challenging aspect of the development of this precinct?
Working with existing buildings is always a challenge, as you do not have a blank slate to develop from. You need to modify and customise every aspect of your design to work within the constraints of the existing buildings’ layout, structure, access points and service routes.

How has the residential leasing gone? And how many residential units will there be in total, and how diverse is the offering in terms of rental and sizes?
The interest in the residential units has been very good. There will be 80 units available in The Diamond in December with the remining 410 available in early 2020. The Onyx has 655 units, available from May 2020.

When we last spoke the corporate identity and logo for the precinct was almost there… what can you tell us about that?
The logo has been finalised and will be incorporated into the precinct facades and art works.

Have you signed any commercial tenants yet, and if so, what is the progress on the office space?
The commercial letting has been slow, mostly due to misperceptions about the inner city. Convincing tenants that we were really going to implement our vision as shown on paper was difficult early on in the project, but is becoming easier by the day as the vision is materialising on site. The Fox Street upgrade and pedestrianisation is far progressed and a major drawcard for potential tenants.

What retail and community-related tenants have you secured?
We are very happy to confirm that we’ll have a Curro high school in the precinct. This school will open its doors in January for the 2020 school year. On the medical front Medeserve, a primary-care medical service has signed up; and in terms of retail, we can confirm the following tenants so far: Shoprite, Clicks, Pep, McDonald’s, Chicken Licken, Postnet, Pep Cell, Shoprite Liquor and Shoprite K’Nect. We also signed Fives Futbol, which will be operating two five-a-side football fields on the roof of one of the buildings.

What will be the next element to be completed, and when will the public be able to interact with it?
The public will start interacting with Jewel City from January 2020, with access to The Diamond and the Curro high school. The precinct as a whole will launch and be fully accessible from May 2020.

If anyone is interested in finding out more about the residential possibilities, who can they contact?
They should definitely contact letting@ithembaproperty.co.za as the units are going quickly.