JPC spends more than R60 million to restore old post office

 

More than R60 million will be spent by the Johannesburg Property Company (JPC) in its restoration work on the historic Rissik Street Post Office in the Johannesburg CBD.

Although there is no clarity yet as to what the post office will be used for once it has been refurbished, Leonard Visagie of the JPC said one idea currently being toyed with is turning it into a venue and functions centre.

Visagie said the usage has not been cast in stone yet as other potential uses could emerge once the building has been restored to its former glory after a massive fire in 2009, which came after vandals helped themselves to valuable building material and the clock and bell in the clock tower.

The budgeted amount is for a three-year period of work to be done in phases and that amount will be much higher once the City finally decides on what it would like to use the building for once the restoration work has been completed,” Visagie said.

James Wylie of Paradigm Architects, who are heading the restoration work, said the sad news is that the clock and bell will not be

returning to the refurbished building as they plan to put a roof above the tower to cover the opening created by vandals when they helped themselves to the various valuable items.

He said the eastern section of the land of the post office was taken away and turned into a park, with a wall build to separate the two. “We

intend to tear down the wall and create an atmosphere where the two sites talk to each as before, although the park will remain.”

Wylie said turning the historic building into an event and functions venue could be the most ideal way of celebrating the iconic architectural

design of the building, which is of immense historical value to the heritage of Johannesburg.

If he had his way, Wylie said the old hallway of the postal counters could be used for bigger functions and events, while a section of what he terms, the South Pole, could be the service side of the events with a kitchen and the ablution blocks.

The North Pole could be used for smaller contemporary functions such as product launches and the like, while the basement could be used as an archives section or an exhibition space. He said additional costs will arise when the building is being modified to usage specifications, once that score has been decided.

Read: SA Post Office boss cleans up in Alex

What do you think the old Rissik Street Post Office could be used for, once restoration is complete? 

  AUTHOR
Sipho Siso

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