Five buildings in suburb demolished to make way for R623m shopping, hotel and office precinct.

For those wondering what the bulldozing and banging in Rosebank is all about, the area is undergoing a major face-lift before the 2010 World Cup.

A R623-million development is under way that will consist of a luxurious 160- room boutique hotel, retail space, loft offices and a four- level basement garage.

The Old Mutual Property Group said the development would be completed by April 2010.

Group spokesman Mike Kerkhoff said five buildings had been demolished to make way for the new shopping, hotel and office precinct.

Shopping centres and office blocks in Admirals Court, Rosebank Boulevard, Oxford Corner and Knightsbridge, as well as the old Fournos Bakery — all owned by Old Mutual — were knocked down earlier this year to make way for the new development.

Brent Wiltshire, Old Mutual Property’s business development executive, said the new precinct had been planned with the Gautrain in mind.

“The aim is to create a lifestyle centre that satisfies a combination of living requirements and complements nearby developments,” he said.

Wiltshire said the development’s ground floor shopping area would house homeware and fashion stores as well as restaurants . The first floor will also house restaurants and “extend the fashion mix” available at The Zone centre nearby.

The manager of the Rosebank Management District, Jenny Alexander, said the new precinct would have a positive social and business impact on the area.

And property owners, businesses and residents should expect to benefit from the new development as well as the Gautrain station.

“We can expect more active, busy streets, and more pedestrians in the streets with more public transport access, new and exciting buildings and improved urban management,” she said.

The chairman of the Melrose Ratepayers’ Association, Luis Neuburger, said the precinct was a step in the right direction for the area, but he had a few reservations.

“We just hope that they have done their homework and that we are not over- developing Rosebank. They should also limit the height of the building to a maximum of 12 storeys,” he said.

The new development is not the only upgrade Rosebank is set to undergo.

The Firs centre is to be refurbished by banking group Investec and the Galleria centre along Biermann Avenue will be revamped after the council approves the plans.

This will be good news for residents who have been complaining about vagrants hanging around the Galleria .

Once the Gautrain is built, passengers will be able to access the underground station from entrances in the Tyrwhitt Mall near the intersection of Cradock and Tyrwhitt avenues, as well as in front of The Zone building on Oxford Road.

AUTHOR: Amukelani Chauke
DATED: 3rd August 2007