Feb 13, 2019: South Africa's biggest and busiest airport, O.R Tambo International has unveiled the first phase of a R4.5 billion mixed-use development. It will have Western Precinct acquire new offices, retail space, hotel and conference facilities and additional transit-related services.

At a sod-turning ceremony for its Western Precinct development, an 8.5 hectare site, Bongiwe Pityi-Vokwana, general manager of the airport, detailed the airport's plans to unlock the development potential of 180,000 square metres of bulk for a mixed-use development to be located on the northern precinct of the airport. Construction begins this month with an anticipated completion date for the first phase of the end of 2020. The seven phases of the Western Precinct development will stretch from the site of the old Shade 2 carports in the north to up to where the Southern Sun Hotel is located.

Pityi-Vokwana was joined at the ceremony by members of the Western Precinct Consortium, which won the bid for the first phase. This phase will see the construction of three six-storey office buildings, above podium with a floor area of 33,000 square metres.

The members of the Western Precinct Consortium are HERI Propco, mmqsmace Consultancy, and TiBER Construction. The consortium has committed that a minimum 30 percent of the total contract value will be sub-contracted to Exempt Micro Enterprises (EMEs) and Qualifying Small Enterprises (QSEs).

"O.R Tambo International Airport remains an international landmark with world-class infrastructure and a large variety of services for all users and markets. The Western Precinct development forms part of a strategy to expand our offering and to drive new sources of growth for the entire region," explained Pityi-Vokwana.

In addition to this development, O.R Tambo International's Airports Company long-term infrastructure master plan features midfield cargo and midfield passenger terminals, each requiring several billion rands in further investment. These developments will accommodate growing passenger demand and expand the midfield cargo facilities at the airport to accommodate up to two million tonnes of air cargo annually.

"At the same time, airport users will start to see upgrades to the existing terminal buildings. So, we are entering a very exciting period in the life of our airport which supports about 38,000 jobs in and around the precinct," she said.

The mixed-use development will consist of a variety of buildings which are framed in such a way as to form a boulevard at the international departures level, where a variety of retail commercial and ancillary buildings each open onto a vibrant energetic %u2018street' environment serviced by lively restaurants, corner cafes, and bars.

The iconic structure will house all the vertical and horizontal circulation functionality in a clear and legible way anchored by the Gautrain station at its core and will provide a unique architectural language to Africa's largest airport.

The first phase buildings will provide for corporate head office for Airports Company South Africa and the South African Civil Aviation Authority; and common-use facilities such as a fitness centre, canteen, and creche.

The development will improve the connectivity from the Gautrain station and to existing hotels and facilities via pedestrian-friendly connections to the international terminal building.

"We will also be closely partnering with the Consortium to ensure that their Enterprise Development and Skills Development plans are achieved and that local residents are prioritised during the recruitment of labour," Pityi-Vokwana added.

Consortium leader Mandla Mlangeni said that the group was delighted to win the competitive bid. "Together we bring exceptional engineering and construction skills and experience to the Western Precinct development."

"We have already put in considerable effort to recruit from the regions around the airport and will continue to do so. In addition, the consortium will remain focused on fulfilling our bid undertakings to use black-owned subcontractors and suppliers," he said.

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