Refurbished Hillbrow flat wins property award

Anna Cox © The Star 2005-06-01 A Hillbrow block of flats, recently refurbished as part of an initiative to rejuvenate the inner city, has won a prestigious property award. Smitshof, on the corner of Smit and Hospital streets, was recently renovated by the Johannesburg Housing Company (JHC). It has received the South African Property Owners’ Association’s 2005 Social Environment Category for excellence in property development. “It is a great honour to have one of our inner city buildings getting this prestigious award. It was a team effort by all our contractors, Savage and Dodd Architects, Brendan T Smith Project Managers, Roos & Roos Quantity Surveyors and Eksteen le Roux Electrical Engineers,” said Dombolo Masilela, marketing communication manager for the JHC. Masilela said the award was significant in that it recognised a refurbishment in Hillbrow that not only had delivered quality affordable housing, but had achieved sustainability in terms of the “triple” bottom line. “It is financially sustainable, giving returns on investment, it is socially viable providing affordable social housing and is environmentally viable because of the ‘recycling’ of an old building and the conversion of the old coal boilers to gas,” Masilela said. She said renovating the building was not easy as it had to be done while the tenants occupied the building. “We tackled the project by renovating one or two floors at a time, working from the top floors down. The tenants co-operated by moving around... to allow the contractors to do their work. “The building has been repainted outside and inside, and all the electrical and plumbing systems have been checked, repaired and upgraded.” The JHC has renovated around 20 buildings in the Hillbrow/Joubert Park inner city area, as well as having constructed new housing projects. It is currently building the new residential Brickfields development in Newtown.