Braamfontein’s urban lifestyle offering is on the rise – and The Exchange is at the heart of it

Braamfontein’s urban lifestyle offering is on the rise – and The Exchange is at the heart of it

18February, 2019

“New Braamfontein” offers residents and visitors a wealth of cultural and social experiences.

Braamfontein is fast becoming an unrivalled lifestyle destination and fantastic place to invest in property. It offers an exciting mix of modern and retro apartments, along with bustling inner-city streets and entertainment. It has easy access to some of Johannesburg’s best schools, campuses and is surrounded by leading private and government businesses, including banks, hospitals, the SABC and an emerging Tshimologong tech district in the CBD.

The Exchange is an exciting new residential development in the heart of it all. The developers believed that the location held unique potential with it being on the doorstep of the CBD and in the historical part of the city, with students and business people alike enjoying its eclectic offerings.

Their instincts proved correct, and since the development was launched, the area has been evolving into ‘New Braamfontein’, which has something for everyone and offers a unique slice of Joburg life for residents.

Braamfontein is a cultural heartland, with limitless opportunities to learn and be entertained. The Neighbourgoods Market on Saturday mornings is the ultimate artisanal food destination, while the nearby 44 Stanley precinct has some of the best indie shopping & lifestyle offerings in the city.

At the centre of it all, there are restaurants like Love Food Kitchen, for a varying seasonal weekday lunch and breakfast menu, the Orbit Jazz Club & Bistro for fine dining and even finer sounds, and newcomer Artivist bar, eatery and gallery that is making waves on the Joburg social scene.

Coffee lovers can get their fix at Post and Double Shot, while late-night party people can get their jol on at the enduring Kitchners, Great Dane, The Living Room or Republic of 94.

If art and culture is more your scene, you will be spoilt for choice with the Wits Art Museum (WAM) showcasing traditional and contemporary African art, the Kalashnikovv Gallery, with contemporary South African exhibits, and the Joburg branch of the Stevenson Gallery, with its focus on contemporary art from Africa and the diaspora.

To get to know the area a little better, you can also opt to do one of the many tours available in the area – which will offer you secret insights to rooftop gardens & urban farming, graffiti or urban photography.

Exchange lofts, the oldest communications hub in Johannesburg

The surge of development in Braamfontein is less about gentrification and more about integration, and many carefully thought-out projects aim to provide opportunities for residents and businesspeople. One such initiative, enthusiastically supported by The Exchange, is Streets Alive, which aims to enhance the safety and appeal of the streets of Braamfontein. The plan incorporates three phases, the first of which is to encourage the use of pedestrian areas by upgrading the pavements, installing pedestrian lighting, erecting signage, putting in street furniture and planting trees and other plants to green the area. Phase two and three will involve the upgrade of existing council assets, including the Vrededorp Swimming Pool and the Public Park and sports area.

This initiative will bring about regeneration of the broader area and benefit the community of the suburb as well. Exchange residents, who will be part of that community, already have the opportunity to take part in a vibrant inner-city lifestyle. This opportunity will be augmented by walkable streets and usable public spaces right on their doorstep.

To find out what the experience of living in Braamfontein is like, one need do no more than ask a resident of The Exchange. All of them speak of how much they love the combination of the retro industrial space, with modern fittings, and speak of the ease of access to just about anywhere they need to get to in Joburg. Residents range from university students to financial advisors working right on The Exchange’s doorstep to the stretches of Hyde Park.

“It’s close to everything that I love, from the university to 44 Stanley to Melville. You can explore anything and everything, with Fordsburg and Newtown just down the road. It’s a lively and vibey place to live,” says Skhumbuzo Makwasa (Entrepreneur & Student).

Claire Lord (Café Owner), another Exchange resident, adds that she loves being halfway between the northern and southern suburbs of Joburg, close to Parkhurst and Greenside. “It just has the best of everything right at your fingertips. And sometimes there’s a really great party happening here. But you can also get away from it all – there’s real serenity in terms of the surroundings.”

All the residents speak of how affordable The Exchange is, giving them abundant space at a fraction of the cost of similar apartments further north.

Paultre Desrosiers (USA Expat & Entrepreneur) comes home to cook and stream videos using The Exchange’s high-speed internet access (in all units). “I chose to live here because of the value. It’s almost twice the amount of space for the price. And it’s a brand-new product.”

Chris Van (Investment Advisor & Screenplay Writer) says that he was one of the first residents to move in, and he just loves coming home to relax in his apartment, having a drink and playing music. He also loves being in vibrant Braamfontein. “This is the heart of the city and a microcosm of the country. I enjoy being a part of the real Johannesburg.”

Ndalama Ndhambi (Medical Student at WITS) agrees, saying that he believes Braamfontein is a vibrant area waiting to grow. “I’m glad that I was here from the get-go, before the area grew into the perfect place for students and young executives to stay.”

It’s clear that those who live in The Exchange love being there, for everything that it has to offer, as well as for its location in the heart of vibey, growing Braamfontein. The residents are as diverse as the broader community, and are proud to be a part of something exciting and original. The landscape of Braamfontein might be changing in the coming years, but the great value and innovative thinking that makes The Exchange what it is will always stay the same.

Urban renewal projects in Braamfontein to create a safer, more vibrant space for residents.

Urban renewal projects in Braamfontein to create a safer, more vibrant space for residents.

3December, 2018

Urban initiatives being launched around The Exchange will enhance the security and community spirit of Braamfontein, and drive value for investors in the development.

Braamfontein is an up-and-coming suburb on Johannesburg’s doorstep. The area is currently going through a period of urban renewal and offers exciting opportunities for early investors. One such opportunity is The Exchange, a new development offering 129 voluminous and contemporary loft apartments.

While the development itself has state-of-the-art security measures in place, investors are understandably concerned about the broader Braamfontein area and its infrastructure. For this reason, The Exchange’s developers are delighted that the Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA) has announced a number of initiatives underway in the area to enhance the security of all residents and to continue to drive the growth of Braamfontein.

The Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA) had presented an opportunity for relevant locations within the inner city to propose initiatives that would benefit their community and infrastructure. One of the eight proposals that was approved by the JDA is “Streets Alive”, an initiative that aims to improve the immediate areas in and around The Exchange. This project has been given the green light and is in the final phase of planning.

It incorporates three phases, the first of which is to encourage the use of pedestrian areas by upgrading the pavements, installing pedestrian lighting, erecting signage, putting in street furniture and planting trees and other plants to green the area. Phase two and three will involve the upgrade of existing council assets, including the Vrededorp Swimming pool and the public park and sports area.

Exchange lofts, the oldest communications hub in Johannesburg

This is good news for Braamfontein and for The Exchange, as it will bring about regeneration of the broader area and benefit the community of the suburb as well. Exchange residents, who will be part of that community, already have the opportunity to take part in a vibrant inner-city lifestyle. This opportunity will be augmented by walkable streets and usable public spaces right on their doorstep – in addition to the greenery of the Enoch Sontonga Memorial Park, which the development privately accesses on the other side.

The “Streets Alive” focus area is currently the site of a number of other prospective positive upliftment measures, which include; the renovation and letting of buildings on Solomon St to trendy commercial tenants, cleaning out and fencing off of vulnerable open spaces, and the donation of aid to the church and community centre so that it is able to better assist its congregation and community. All of this adds value to the community and delivers a positive urban lifestyle for all residents.

The Exchange is part of a collective development called the Braamfontein Lifestyle Living Precinct, along with Sontonga Lofts and Post Lofts, which collaborate to address social and infrastructural issues in the neighbourhood. Together, they are setting a trend for other developers to take advantage of the opportunities and build within this booming area. The collective aims to make buyers feel secure that they are buying into an area where like-minded developers and tenants are building a positive community.

The Exchange is located near the vibey 44 Stanley Avenue development within the old Johannesburg telephone exchange building – hence the name. The building was gutted and renovated to develop the 127 apartments, with lavish open spaces with abundant natural light and modern finishes.

Its contemporary aesthetic combined with artefacts of the building that once was, make it an appealing destination for style-conscious investors, while it’s convenient location and access to major transport routes make it the ideal residential location for young professionals.

The Exchange’s developers are committed to the renewal of Braamfontein, and believe that the vibrant area will become one of Johannesburg’s most sought-after property investment destinations in the coming years, due to its convenience, urban lifestyle offering, and the aesthetic of the older buildings carried into the 21st century with modern design and finishes. The fact that other developers and government agencies have a similar commitment to the area means that these initiatives are sure to stick, and Braamfontein will continue to rise.

The Exchange is set to be the trendiest place to live in the new Braamfontein area!

The Exchange is set to be the trendiest place to live in the new Braamfontein area!

10May, 2018

To date, sales have exceeded our expectations, with phase 1 & 2 being sold out!We will be launching the  final phases of our development on the weekend of the 12th & 13th of May 2018.

Exciting things happening at The Exchange

  • The anticipated occupation date is mid June 2018.
  • The guardhouse is nearing completion
  • All car parks and paving are being levelled and redone
  • The building facade has been undergoing a grand scale clean-up
  • Lighting and landscaping are progressing, but have been hindered somewhat by heavy rain
Exchange lofts, the oldest communications hub in Johannesburg

Here’s a quick peek at what’s happening in the neighbourhood

  • The Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA) has awarded a grant to the campaigned “Streets Alive” project. This will benefit the immediate areas surrounding The Exchange and will entail improvements to the roads, pavements and walkways. The JDA has been on site, and is involved in the planning of this exciting project.
  • A lease has been secured on the historical buildings on Solomon Street, and we are in the process of revamping and securing trendy commercial tenants in this space.
  • We have secured in the region of 15 vacant sites in the area, and efforts to clean out and fence off these vulnerable open spaces is under way, along with the donation of aid to the adjacent church and community centre so that it is able to better assist its congregation and community. All of this adds value to the community and delivers a positive urban lifestyle for all residents.
  • The Public Rail Association Of South Africa (PRASA) has short listed three development proposals to fully upgrade the existing Smit Street Train Station. This will be an exciting upgrade for commuters, as well as a valuable upliftment of the general area.
  • The UDZ Tax incentive certificate has been granted by the City of Johannesburg, and is now available. This will enable owners of lifestyle lofts to claim the tax write off when renting the units, as advertised.
  • The Corridors of Freedom rates rebate has been lodged, and is in the process of being finalised by the City of Johannesburg.
  • The developers have acquired the old Brenner’s Toyota dealership opposite Sturrock Park Sports Grounds, on Solomon St/Annet Rd, and are in the final stages of concluding a deal to develop a new filling station and convenience store on this land.

To conclude, The Exchange forms part of a development which is setting a trend for other developers to take advantage of the opportunities and build within this booming area. The collective of developers aim to ensure buyers feel secure that they are buying into an area where like-minded developers and tenants are building a positive community.

Thank you for your valued support & we look forward to welcoming you soon
The Exchange Team

Johannesburg’s oldest communications hub in the city

Johannesburg’s oldest communications hub in the city

7October, 2016

In tracing the heritage of the site upon which The Exchange is founded, one comes face to face with the concept of the oldest communications hub in the Braamfontein/ Vrededorp district.

“The interesting point which needs to be made here is that the Braamfontein Railway station and marshalling yards, the Smit Street Compound, Telkom Site, railway sidings and the Gasworks were all used to divide the poorer sections of the town from the rich central and northern suburbs. The poor whites and the black sectors were effectively fenced off by these major industrial sites. Donald Trump could not have done it better. The role which the new Telkom housing development will play will contribute to breaking the divide in line with the concept behind Corridors of Freedom – it will stitch one patch of the city together. The barrier was one not only of race, but very much of class. The latter has not been given much attention in planning Johannesburg.”

Flo Bird, Johannesburg Heritage Trust, 2016

The buildings which have been converted into residential lofts have an important role to play in the history of the city of Johannesburg. The original small post office building which makes up the Old Exchange complex, was the place where the residents of Vrededorp (or ‘Fietas’ as it was known) would have served as a communications hub in the neighbourhood. It was a place where Joburg dwellers could use the telephone, since there were few, if any, telephones in homes at that stage. In addition, this was the collection place for parcels from family living far away. Other services offered by the little Post Office would be certification of important documents by the Postmaster, who was always a Commissioner of Oaths.

Exchange lofts, the oldest communications hub in Johannesburg

Unfortunately, this charming little structure did not remain the neighbourhood post office for long. It was too small and not sufficiently central. The new suburban office was erected in 11th Street (according to Salma Patel of Fietas Museum), and this was to serve as the new communications hub for the ever-expanding city.

The Exchange development borders on the Braamfontein Cemetery, which also has an interesting and colourful past. The cemetery has the earliest graves bodies of Johannesburg pioneers were exhumed from the original city graveyard in Harrison Street and reburied here – and many founders and famous personalities are laid to rest within the walls of this green haven. Included in the ‘heroes section’ are Enoch Sontonga, Cornelius Broeksma, and struggle heroes Valliamal Munusamy, Nagapen and Chow Kwai For, as well as soldiers who died in the Anglo Boer War. There are even some graves of men who died while serving with the SADF in World Wars I and II. Artists, authors, actors are all buried here, alongside thousands of black mineworkers whose graves have been covered with soil and then grassed to conceal their existence.

In this section it has been recorded that a number of a number of miners who died in accidents on various mines have been laid to rest here. All of these mines have since closed but the graves remain a valuable historic record of those early mines like Village Deep, Main Reef and Crown Deep Mines.
There are a number of tall, beautiful Blue Gum trees bordering the development, planted in the greenbelt between The Exchange and the Enoch Sontonga Cemetery. These provide a ‘green edge’ for the new residential area. They have a special heritage significance in the cemetery as for many funerals of black people wreaths were made from their leaves and placed on the graves along with seeds. Since the graves of black mineworkers were concealed with soil the gum trees remain as markers of the mourners who brought wreaths for the dead.

When Hunger growls…

When Hunger growls…

5October, 2016

When you find yourself in the hip and trendy urban landscape of the Braamfontein area, and hunger pangs threaten to consume you, here’s a quick look at the urban eating places available to starve off those hunger pangs in and around the Exchange Loft development.

Elevate Roof Top Bar
16th Floor, Reef Hotel, 58 Anderson Street, Marshalltown, Inner City Johannesburg
Situated in the heart of the urban banking district, and on the top floor of one of Jozi’s thirty tallest skyscrapers, this venue offers a 360 degree view of the city of Gold. A mere 4,6km from The Exchange Urban lofts, this unique space is a great way to unwind, catch up with some mates or just enjoy a long cold glass of relaxation after a stressful week in the big city.
This venue can also be booked for private functions and launches.

Darkie Cafe
10 Anderson Street, Marshalltown
A slick, happening cafe generously populated by the young and trendy, owner Charlotte Malokisi’s creation is the place to see and be seen in Joburg’s CBD. On offer is traditional South African cuisine with a twist, like Soweto chicken with margo and mogudu, as well as timeless classics like oxtail, lamb shanks and prawns in a tangy lemon curry.

Hip and trendy Urban eating places in the neighbourhood of the Exchange Loft development

At 44 Stanley Shopping Precinct, you are spoilt for good food choices – try Salvation Cafe – a down-to-earth cafe that preaches the soul of good food that is fresh and honest. The menu is a self-proclaimed ‘odyssey of flavours’, inspired by the travels of owner/chef Claudia Giannoccaro. She sailed around the globe on luxury private yachts being creative with local ingredients wherever the wind took her. Claudia says that simple and tasty food is her passion.

Vovo Telo, (also at 44 Stanley) offers delicious freshly baked bread, pounded out by the ever-present bakers, which are a staple throughout the excellent cafe menu. The trademark light and airy interiors at Vovo Telo are always welcoming and attract a diverse crowd of urban dwellers.

Other notable eateries are the Italian restaurant Il Giardino for relaxed, yet nourishing Sunday lunches, or the craft beer garden Stanley Beer Yard.