The beautiful new park and river has given a major boost to business confidence in the area, with its striking, fully restored pedestrian bridge has already spurred a R15-million investment on its south side, on its north side, there’s an investment of well over R1-billion in a major new mixed-use development that’s poised to start unfolding.
Details on both of these emerged at its launch event recently, which marked the completion of an extensive, two-year rehabilitation project overseen by the Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA) in collaboration with Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo. The redevelopment of Bruma and surrounding suburbs is directly linked to Joburg’s 2040 strategy, which aims to build a city that is liveable, sustainable and resilient. The benefits are far more extensive. Speaking at the official launch, Executive Mayor Cllr Parks Tau said the City’s investment in Bruma looked at the present and future needs of an area that was evolving, whose population was growing, and which formed an important nodal development point in the City’s Corridors of Freedom programme. Bruma, Cyrildene and other suburbs east of the CBD would soon be integrated into the Louis Botha Corridor of Freedom - whose main bus rapid transit (BRT) route will connect Parktown to Alexandra and Sandton - and through this to the Empire-Perth Corridor between the CBD and Soweto.
The City of Joburg is expected to grow by 3-million people over the next 24 years”, Mayor Tau said. It was therefore crucial to move away from a “mono-use” city in which residents were far removed from amenities and opportunities to a city of the future - one which was mixed-use, higher density, compact and polycentric. Bruma’s new-look river and park would become a “destination for people” with recreational, commercial and other uses, the Mayor said. It would also spur the growth and development of Cyrildene as “the Chinatown not just of Johannesburg but of South Africa and of Africa”. Architect Ambrose Adebayo, the co-designer of the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, outlined the plans for a major new mixed-use development for the north side of the park. This will include a 5-star hotel, a double-level shopping centre, an office block, high-rise apartments catering to a range of income levels, and extensive underground parking.
The development’s four new buildings would be designed in organic African style as a synthesis of modern and traditional forms, Adebayo said, and would relate “like a sculpture” to the river and the park.