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Sandton City

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Sandton City
Sandton City Logo New.jpg
Sandton City's logo as of 2011
Location Sandton, Gauteng, South Africa
Opening date September 12, 1973
Developer Rapp and Maister
Management Liberty Properties
Owner Liberty Group Limited
Pareto Ltd
No. of stores and services close to 300
No. of floors 6
Website www.sandtoncity.com

Sandton City is a shopping Center located in Sandton, Johannesburg. Originally founded and owned by the property development company Rapp and Maister, the center opened its doors to the public on September 12, 1973. The Center covers a gross leasable area of 128,000 m2 (1,380,000 sq ft) of retail space. The office space combined with the Sandton Sun Hotel increase the total area to 215,000 m2 (2,310,000 sq ft). Sandton City and the adjacent Nelson Mandela Square together form the largest retail complex in Africa.[1] A pyramid-shaped roof was added in the 1990s and provides the distinguishing architectural feature of Sandton City.

History

Sandton City was originally a twenty-one story, concrete block shopping center that opened its doors in late 1973. It is a prime example of the concrete architecture that was common in South Africa in the early 1970s, and is often referred to as "Apartheid Architecture" due to its austerity and scale. The architecture is also seen in the Golden Acre (Goue Akker), a similar shopping center built in Cape Town before the construction of Sandton City, as well as in other buildings built in the early 1970s. These other buildings include the International Terminal at the airport in Johannesburg, the Carlton Center, the new Rand Afrikaans University in Johannesburg, and the JG Strijdom (since renamed the Hillbrow Tower) in Hill-brow, Central Johannesburg. Most of these buildings were conceived of in the late 1960s, soon after Justice Minister BJ Vorster became Prime Minister in 1966 and following the assassination of Hendrik Verwoerd.

1970s

Sandton City opened its doors in 1973 with 120 stores on two levels, and added two additional levels of parking for 2,500 cars as well as outside parking. It was also the first of its kind in Johannesburg. Upon opening, the sheer scale and depth of the center revolutionized South African and Johannesburg retailing. However, many people criticized the center's lack of external lighting and a loss of functionality from Hyde Park Corner, a much smaller shopping center nearby Sandton City. The outer plaza to the east housed offices, branches of Nedbank and Barclays (later to become First National), medical suites, and a steak house. A bridge connected the outer plaza to what was then Sandton Library, a medical clinic, and the Sandton Council building. Today, Sandton City has grown to become Nelson Mandela Square and has over 295 stores and 10,000 mostly underground parking bays. In its early stages in the 1970s, the small lower floor housed a Post Office, initially divided into sections for Black and White customers, and a Ster-Kinekor cinema complex that is still there today. The racial segregation of the Sandton City Post Office was removed around 1977, near the end of Apartheid.

1980s

According to the Sandton City website,[2] 240 stores and 8000 parking bays were recorded while the 5-star towers were launched, with 44000 square meters space added. The Sandton Sun Hotel was built in 1984 as part of the complex.

1990s

During this time, Sandton City underwent major refurbishment of common areas.[3]

2000s

In 2001, stores were increased to 295 while parking bays were boosted to 10,000. A new food court and giant video wall were also constructed. The Home Living retail level was developed in 2002, and a cinema complex received a refurbishment in the same year.

Sandton City Shopping Center effectively gave birth to an African version of Manhattan, although it retains its old flavor in many ways. Sandton City includes the offices of major international and South African banks, a plethora of hotels, and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. It has effectively replaced the financial district of Central Johannesburg City several miles to the south, which once fulfilled this role. Central Johannesburg fell into decline by contrast, though this has now been alleviated to some extent.

2010s

In 2013, the Twin Towers office section of Sandton City was completely redone with a contemporary glass shell. In 2014, the office tower received a complete external revamp, with new cladding applied over the original concrete structure. A new wing was also added to the shopping center, joining the Edgars and Woolworths Courts.

Redevelopment

Liberty Properties announced in 2008 that Sandton City will receive a R1.77 billion upgrade. Liberty Properties Chief Executive Samuel Ogbu envisaged the complex as South Africa's own Wall Street. The redevelopment plans include the construction of a 60-story office tower, new retail and office space, and residential apartments. The proposed extension would stretch to 30,000 m2 and the total complex will have a gross square footage of 158,000 m2. London-based RTKL Associates have been chosen to design the complex.[4] Sandton City is owned by Liberty Life (75% shares) and Pareto Ltd (25% shares).

See also

References

  1. ^ Sandton City. "History of the center - Sandton City". Retrieved August 25, 2014. 
  2. ^ "History of the Center, Sandton City". Sandton City History. Retrieved November 27, 2014. 
  3. ^ "History of the Center, Sandton City". Sandton City History. Retrieved November 27, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Sandton City up for R1,7-billion upgrade". IOL. August 19, 2008. 

External links

Coordinates: 26°06′30″S 28°03′15″E / 26.10833°S 28.05417°E / -26.10833; 28.05417