Rejuvenation | 3 neighbourhoods reinvented by property renewal, art and passion


Mining and industry might be great job creators, but there is only one industry that can build a city: property.

Not only is property development responsible for the most awe inspiring cities across the world, but only the property industry can create a renaissance in an area by rejuvenating buildings and expanding communities.

Recycling an re-using is a global must-do and where best to apply major facelifts than in previously bustling neighbourhoods.

It’s also a message of hope in the future. A sign that we will not continue lying down, but that we will get up again and rebuild and rejuvenate what has been broken down. Imagine if treasures like the city of Dresden was not rebuilt or if the St Catherine’s Palace in St Petersburg was left to lie in ruins after the Cold War.

Rejuvenation is therefore as important as new development as it rebuilds where has been built before but only better: with a new point of view and a modern sense of collaboration and renewal.

We take a look at 3 local rejuvenated neighbourhoods, reinvented by property renewal, art and passion and which have been catalysts for bringing communities and therefore life back into areas which were derelict and undesirable not so long ago.



On the border of the CBD, Woodstock was once the 3rd largest town in the country back in 1881, survived being classified as a “whites only” area during apartheid and went through a urban renewal phase in the early 90’s.  Yet most of Woodstock became run down with litter, crime and drugs becoming a serious issue, the face of the neighbourhood has changed quietly and eventually dramatically over the last decade.

Developments like the Old Biscuit Mill, which was once a biscuit factory, hosts one of the best restaurants in the world, The Test Kitchen, started injecting some much needed life and love into the area. Other developments like The Foundry, The Woodstock Exchange and micro-breweries like the Woodstock Brewery and Woodstock Gin, all culminate art, design and food to transform the neighbourhood in being hipster and cool to be seen at, live and work in.

Commercially successful new developments The District in 2008 (tenants then Macquarie and Ogilvy) and The Boulevard in 2010 (large tenants Alexander Forbes and Medscheme) catapulted Woodstock into a new serious commercial address and various other smaller moves towards the area followed.

The Upper East Side, a mixed used development hosting hotel, residential, retail and conference facilities most recently added a completely different and complimentary offering.

Today, as you drive down Sir Lowry Road, there are still many developments taking place, buildings being semi-demolished and other being gloriously transformed, continuing the rejuvenation of Woodstock in an ongoing, organic process.



Maboneng is a Sotho word meaning ‘place of light’ and is an exciting, unique mix of developments forming a rejuvenation to take notice of.

Studio apartments, art galleries, boutique retail, delicious food and coffee offerings all contribute towards an inner-city lifestyle of creativity and  entrepreneurship.

Arts on Main was the precinct’s first innovative development, combining creative office spaces with studios, galleries and shops. Absolutely beautiful transformations of old warehouse spaces into a melting pot of the city’s creative community getting together to work, play and collaborate.

Main Street Life on Fox Street is a housing and lifestyle development with panoramic views of Johannesburg. Ground floor exhibition space, restaurants, the Bioscope and the POPArt Theatre make up the retail underneath apartments. Fox Street Studios, features more restaurants, fashion and design stores, and the Precinct’s community centre.

On the commercial end, Main Change is a collaborative working environment space for entrepreneurs and innovators in an office space. The building also features a spa, meditation zone, holistic healing centre, health food café and retailers.

Revolution House, another exciting mixed used building where apartments share their building with film and sound studios, The Revolution Barber, New Brow art and fashion store and the Black Box event space. One of the most recent additions is MOAD (Museum of African Design), an urban museum space designed to showcase African contemporary art and design.

Great times we are living in – I cannot wait for the energy of renewal of this precinct to start igniting everything around it.



Being one the most beautiful places on the planet, Sea Point touches on the skirt of the CBD with a fabulous outdoor culture. It is no wonder therefore that the prices of residential properties have just increased year on year and is now one of the most coveted addresses in the city.

Sadly, the neighbourhood has not always been a perfect live-play-work balance with the Main Road’s retail and periphery extremely run-down and not the place to be hanging out at night for many years.

Slowly but surely, however, rejuvenation started creeping into the restaurant spaces and mixed-used developments a few years ago such as the delightful Piazza St John’s and more recently The Point Mall’s grand remake, which have contributed substantially towards residents shopping local again – and enjoying it.

The promenade has always been one of the best outings around, however, with the addition of food trucks and increasing pop-ups of interesting retail stores, Sea Point has once again become a fun and culinary exciting destination for all Capetonians.

The much praised Mojo Market, which opened a couple of months ago, is a fabulous open plan space which gives room and trading opportunity for small traders who might not necessary be able to find an opportunity in a traditional shopping centre.  The wide array of wonderful foods, a large common area bar, eclectic tiny retailers and live music are absolute genius! The good vibes have just been turned up another notch.

Drive or preferably walk down Main Road and you will find the most wonderfully creative retail spaces and just beyond, the most unbelievable ocean views.


Copyright © 2017 by Natalie du Preez.

This article was written by Natalie du Preez and is original content, which is property of the author, all rights reserved. This article or any portion thereof may not be copied, shared or reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the owner.

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