Johannesburg – A formerly hijacked building that had been known for crime and deadly fires at corner Rahima Moosa and Goud streets in the Joburg CBD, is now a home for students; after months of renovations.
In 2017 a man died after jumping off the third floor window of the building when a fire erupted, while six others died inside, from smoke inhalation and the flames.
The Cape York building now houses students as the Focus 1 Student Accommodation, which was launched last Thursday.
Project managers said the nine-storey block of flats had reached its full capacity, accommodating 528 students, with others on the waiting list.
Mark Divine Investments director Samuel Beyin said the project had created 190 jobs during the renovations.
“The main challenges included clearing the dirt accumulated in the property, no water and electricity supply to the building and difficulty of raising funds for the development,” he said.
Beyin added that the project is a way of giving back to the community. “Students won’t have to grapple with constant power blackouts owing to load-shedding, as generators have been installed.”
During the opening ceremony Joburg Housing MMC Mlungisi Mabaso said the municipality is committed to getting rid of hijacked buildings, and turning them into investment opportunities.
“One of our priorities is to provide better, safe and conducive student accommodation. The Cape York building demonstrates that with determination all hijacked buildings can be turned into a beacon of prosperity. The investment brought by this development cannot go unnoticed; and I pledge that my department’s doors will forever be opened for initiatives such as this,” Mabaso said.