Wednesday, March 02, 2005
the ponte building
Ponte City was built in 1973, originally encapsulating luxury penthouse apartments on the top floors, a mezzanine in the middle with shops and entertainment, and normal apartments below. Back in the day, it was the place to live.
As racial integration during the grey areas of apartheid hit South Africa during the 80s, the urban area in which Ponte was built, Doornfontein, became seedy and unkept. Illegal immigrants moved in and trashed the place. Coke-a-Cola originally advertised on the building, but pulled its logo due to the reputation of the building. Vodacom now advertises on the building.
The building is hollow in the middle, which is now half filled with littler and human waste. During the early 90s, the whole of Nigeria practically lived in there, selling drugs, running brothels and causing havoc. Lots of people have died of drug overdoses in here, as well as various 'suicide' cases have been reported. At one point, the government even thought of turning it into a high-rise prison, which would've been terrible for Joburg tourism.
Now undergoing urban renewal and an economic transformation, Johannesburg is cleaning itself up. Its an amazingly vibrant and cosmopolitan city that desperately needs some attention. The Ponte is part of this regeneration. They are cleaning up the apartments and sorting out the flith. Finally.]
You could rent a penthouse apartment up there, complete with sauna, jacuzzi, terrace, furnishings, [all very retro-70s though] for R2000 a month. (About 153 quid/$334 per month.) It's a steal. And the view must be breathtaking.