Braamfontein first rose to prominence in the 1950s as Johannesburg’s first decentralised office node, home to prestigious law firms, blue chip companies and the city’s leading advertising agencies, rounded out by some of Johannesburg’s top power-dining restaurants. By the early-1990s, the district’s gloss was challenged by the rise of suburban office parks and shiny shopping malls, resulting in lowered occupancies and the advent of urban decay. By 2003, the district’s high-end glory days were a distant memory.
Enter South Point and PlayBraamfontein. Established in the early 2000s, and based in Braamfontein, these forward-thinking property developers saw the opportunity to redevelop the district’s under-utilised office buildings into an innovative mix of office and residential blocks, food markets, retail concepts and student accommodation. Buying and developing dozens of buildings, they also heavily invested in the strategic redevelopment of the district’s tenant mix – attracting new global brands and local concepts, while accommodating the district’s existing tenant base. Other forward-thinking developers have also contributed to the district’s regeneration and growth, repositioning Braamfontein as one of the country’s leading urban renewal success stories, now firmly entrenched as “Africa’s capital of cool”.
Braam is perfectly positioned, mixing big city appeal and suburban access. It’s a relatively compact, walkable district with everything within easy reach – two courts, three theatres, four hotels, the seat of city government and Wits University (with the University of Johannesburg just a few kilometers away). It’s accessible by Gautrain, Metrorail, Metrobus and long-distance bus services. For bike commuters, the district is the home of Joburg’s first dedicated bike lanes. Its rapid rebirth as Africa’s capital of cool is attracting a new generation of office workers, international organisations and brands, forward-thinking retailers, students, young creative and professionals, visitors and tourists alike.