Inner-City’s vibrant community ­— Maboneng

Once an abandoned area fraught with crime, Maboneng Precinct has become a thriving inner-city hub – and the most dynamic part of town. The area has evolved over the past decade, but the January ribbon cutting of Hallmark House, a slick hotel and residential complex, marked a pivotal moment, making this once-downtrodden part of town a prime spot for locals and travellers.
The area’s revitalisation is courtesy of young entrepreneur Jonathan Liebmann, a developer and the founder of Propertuity Development Company.
He started off small, purchasing a section of abandoned warehouses (now called Arts on Main) and leasing spaces to established artists and design studios. He invited local and global brands to use the warehouses as event spaces, lured acclaimed South African artist William Kentridge and art entrepreneur David Krut to occupy studio spaces, and suddenly Maboneng was on the map. The project grew steadily, and eventually, in 2011, he christened Market on Main, a weekly bazaar with food and product stalls, to help make the neighborhood a magnet for suburbanites and out-of-towners.
Until now, Maboneng has been seen as a vibrant day-trip option – supported by rapid growth of local shops and restaurants – but by nightfall, locals retreat to their own areas, and travellers return to the comforts of Johanesburg’s leafier, ritzier areas like Westcliff, Sandton and Saxonwold.
Although Maboneng had some lodging offerings, such as Curiocity Backpackers and the affordable but artsy 12 Decades Hotel, the area was still missing something: a hotel worthy of the international jet set and of the neighborhood’s own clout.
Enter Propertuity’s most ambitious project yet: Hallmark House, whose exterior, communal spaces, restaurants and bars all bear the design signature of the renowned Tanzanian-born architect David Adjaye.
This inner city area, which has recently been privately developed, is known as an up-and-coming creative community with an abundance of artists in residence, trendy coffee shops and dynamic street art.
Maboneng started out as Arts on Main, when old warehouses were renovated to create artists’ studio space. Now it is a mixed-use creative hub that consists of artists’ studios, galleries, eateries, museums and various retail spaces. It is a unique environment for the city’s creative community to develop and share ideas and engage in multiple innovative experiences in one venue.“It’s a mixed-income community in one building,” said Liebmann. Beyond the apartments, the hotel has 46 sleek and simple rooms; their walls are done up with enormous panels of African-patterned textiles – each different than the next – with beds, benches, and throw pillows upholstered in complementary colours.
Then there’s Loof Coffee bar, a branch of a Joburg fixture, peddling macchiatos and cortados brewed from custom-roasted beans. Underground is a jazz bar, speakeasy, and barber – the latest de rigueur amenity for any hip hotel.
Even if you only have a morning in Joburg, it’s easy to explore this edgy area in just a few hours. So if you’re flying in and out of OR Tambo airport and are looking for something to do to pass the hours between your flights why not hop aboard the Gautrain and catch an Uber to spend a morning in Maboneng. Allow about 1 hour for travel either way and 2 – 3 hours to explore.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *