There's no shortage of new film locations for 2010 as a result of the huge infrastructural upgrades happening in Gauteng, including Gautrain, Rea Vaya and ancillary road and traffic improvements, leading up to, and beyond, the World Cup. The commercial property sector is well aware of the opportunities presented by these projects and those key nodes in proximity to the new public transport have become a priority for development. Skylines are changing as new buildings are being erected, state of the art Gautrain stations are being built, Rea Vaya stations can already by spotted, and of course a plethora of new state-of-the-art stadiums dot the Gauteng landscape.

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Gautrain, Midrand
Gautrain

A lot of Gauteng's developments are as a result of Gautrain, and this year marks the commencement of operations on the line between the Sandton Station and OR Tambo International Airport, hopefully on 27 May 2010. Currently trains are being tested on the line to OR Tambo and several stations should be largely completed and operational by end May, including OR Tambo, Rhodesfield, Malboro and Sandton.

It is expected that most of the physical construction and installation work on the Gautrain, as well as the bulk of the testing and commissioning, should be completed by the end of 2010.

Joburg's Rea Vaya

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Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit system for Joburg

And it's not only Gautrain stimulating development - another transport innovation, the Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit System (BRT) in Johannesburg, is contributing as well. Rea Vaya is designed to provide a high quality, fast, safe and affordable transport system. Construction is still underway in many parts of the city. Phase 1A is complete along Soweto, the Inner City and the Ellis Park Precinct. Phase 1B around the Braamfontein area, near Wits and University of Johannesburg areas and around Nasrec is intensifying and is scheduled for completion by June 2010.

Sandton Towers in the heart of Sandton Central

The construction of the 20 000m2 iconic Sandton Towers office development, to be completed by October, has reached roof height. It consists of two sculpted towers linked by a vertical atrium, with double-glazed black, white and grey glass panels that clip together and protect against external heat, cold and noise. This makes the building, which is situated near Sandton City, more energy efficient, as the panels create substantial savings for the air-conditioning and heating requirements of the building.

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Ansteys
SPACEatANSTEYS in Joburg CBD

The historic Ansteys building will, for the first time since the 1940s, play host to private parties, launches, film and photo shoots. SPACEatANSTEYS is situated in the Williams Flat, 16 storeys above the bustling heart of Africa in one of the city's most historic buildings - Ansteys. This was the apartment for the prominent playwright, MK member and friend of Nelson Mandela, Cecil Williams. In 1986, for Johannesburg's Centenary year, a list was compiled of the top 100 places of outstanding cultural, historical and architectural value. Ansteys is 3rd on the list. The space has tremendous historical, architectural and social value, and the beautiful art deco Ansteys Building has been declared a national monument. Ansteys was the tallest structure in the Southern Hemisphere when it was constructed in 1936 and the 16th floor penthouse still commands uninterrupted views of the city skyline. For more information please visit www.SPACEatANSTEYS.com

Newtown Silos gets some colour

The Silos development in Newtown, one of the most exciting developments to take place in Gauteng this year, will see the Silos become a colourful showcase, changing the skyline of Joburg's creative district forever. Previously owned by Premier Milling, they were the first silos in the Johannesburg area. The shape of these buildings lend themselves to exciting designs and, thanks to a sponsorship by Dulux, strong colours have been used to ensure that these building achieve worldwide exposure in architectural publications. Construction is anticipated to start this month (January) with completion and occupation planned for December 2010.

Newtown Junction

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Images of the planned Silos development in Newtown
The 1912 Potato Shed has been derelict and forgotten for almost 30 years but is finally getting a new lease on life. Newtown Junction, as it will be called, will bring the first 21st century mall and four-star City Lodge to the precinct. The two hectare plot behind Museum Africa will offer flea market and retail shopping, offices, a 180-room hotel and a beautiful open public square. The entertainment sector will also benefit, with additional facilities for the Market Theatre, including parking for 700 cars.

Construction starts in 2010 and once complete, the new development is set to bring a new commercial flavour to the precinct.

Iconic offices for Zurich

Short-term insurance company Zurich South Africa has moved its new iconic head office into central Johannesburg, opposite the Magistrates Court. This is one of the first new-build office blocks in the city centre and is definitely one of a kind, with its unique and striking design.

Barbican restored

A historic Johannesburg building, which has been left to decay for years and fallen prey to vandals recently, will soon get a R19-million facelift. Owners Old Mutual have confirmed that the 11-storey Barbican, which was the city's first skyscraper when it was built in 1929, will be restored during 2010.

Absa development greens the Inner City

The Absa Towers West project on Absa Campus is taking 'green building' in the city centre to a new level. The R1,2-billion project in Marshalltown covers three city blocks and includes new buildings and upgrades to eight buildings, as well as the development of the surrounding environment.

New life for old IBM building

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Historic Barbican to be restored
The old IBM building at 124 Main Street (corner Marshall Street) is a stunning 20-storey building built in 1976 by Sir Philip Dowson, a man who uniquely combined art and science, for IBM. It has been standing empty for a decade, after IBM migrated north to Sandton. 124 Main Street consists of five basement parking and storage levels, ground and mezzanine levels for retail and 19 levels of office space, with 20 000m2 available for rent. The building will be totally redeveloped in two phases, with phase one scheduled for completion this month (January), when the top 10 floors will be ready for occupation. The lower 10 floors will be completed by the end of 2010. A gym, meeting rooms, canteens and more are on the cards. This building was at the forefront of technology 30 years ago and the developers want to re-establish it as a landmark once again.

FNB Place - New office block in town

FNB Place is the name of the new building being built on the site bounded by Prichard, Diagonal, Kerk and Sauer Streets. Like its neighbouring buildings, it will form part of the greater BankCity Precinct. The design echoes the classical features of the other BankCity buildings. Construction began in March last year and will be completed by September 2010.

The new look Firs and Hyatt in Rosebank

This is a very exciting time in the lifecycle of the once leafy and comfortable Rosebank suburb. Rosebank's skyline is one of cranes and on the ground there is an enormous amount of construction taking place, over and above Gautrain. In close proximity to the new Rosebank Gautrain Station is The Firs and Hyatt redevelopment. The R600-million swanky new-look multi-use Firs and Hyatt complex includes specialty retail, restaurant space, and premier offices (AAA-grade). All this is enhanced by the luxury of 244 rooms, 15 suites and exceptional service of The Hyatt Regency Johannesburg. A key attraction of the redevelopment will be the new restaurant piazza at the heart of The Firs. Rosebank dining institutions The Grill House and Katzy's provide the gateway for the new piazza, where they have been joined by the likes of equally-iconic Doppio Zero - all showcased in a modern, light and open design.

Circa opens in Rosebank

There's an exciting, new, lozenge-shaped, three-storey art gallery on the corner of Jellicoe Avenue and Jan Smuts. It's called Circa and it will redefine what we view as art, while reflecting the pulse of our city - and it will also host a number of exciting events and objects beside artworks. Rather than the oval that it at first appears to be, the building is in fact a pure ellipse - this allows interior walls that are 'flat' enough for the hanging of artworks. Modular walls that slide between the ground and first floor exhibition rooms allow for innovative and optimal utilisation of the space. The top floor has a large open deck that affords visitors a panoramic view of Johannesburg.

The concrete exterior of the building is sheathed in subtle colour-differentiated anodized aluminium fins. These are set a few centimetres apart from each other so that at night interior light can emerge, giving the building an almost translucent quality.

Holiday Inn for Rosebank

The 158-room Holiday Inn, a major part of the extensions to The Zone@Rosebank, will open in April 2010. Apart from the hotel, which will be a short walk from the soon-to-be-completed Gautrain station for Rosebank and the proposed BRT route, the development will comprise two floors of retail space, loft offices over two levels and a four-level basement parking garage with 921 bays.

The hotel, which will have a pool, gymnasium, roof garden and conference facilities, will integrate with the retail component through sharing of common areas and the basement parking.

At the intersection of Oxford Road and Tyrwhitt Avenue, the hotel suites are incorporated into a striking curved corner feature. Each suite is designed around its own individual shape, creating an impression of an undulating curvature that alters itself from floor to floor. A three-level glass and steel coned structure defines the corner between Woolworths in the existing Zone and the adjoining Admirals Court building.

Tshwane's Freedom Park Museum set for completion in June 2010

Freedom Park's interactive exhibition space //hapo is set for completion by June 2010. This phase of the project also includes Vhuawelo - a peaceful garden and walkway, restaurant and kiosk, curio shop, and Pan African Archives.