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FNB leads the pack on Inner-City regeneration

Nie Cele

Ever been to the ever bustling FNB’s Bank City precinct recently in Jozi? If not, hurry up and visit the new look Bank City arcade and experience the expediency shopping and banking ambience that will blow your mind.

The new look first phase BankCity was recently unveiled in front of the packed to the rafters’ employees, its executives and the over the moon number one citizen in Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba.

Management told the media that  BankCity revitalization project  is continuing and is a sign of its commitment and investment in the Johannesburg Inner-City.

The new-look revitalised BankCity precinct offers a “Work. Eat. Play” experience through a combination of 34 retail tenants that are open to all residents and visitors of the inner-city and nearly 12 000 FNB employees who occupy its properties spanning 181 000square metres.

According to Management, the first phase of the BankCity upgrade created 150 local jobs and the retailers in the precinct employ approximately 231 people.

Furthermore it was revealed that It took nearly 130 000 hours to produce brand new retail spaces and a world-class, colourful Fraser Street surface which connects Pritchard and Jeppe streets.

A terse statement also stated that the unveiling of the revamped precinct coincides with FNB’s 180-year celebrations as SA’s oldest bank.

“The Bank’s journey is commemorated through a mobile exhibition and an unveiling of an iMadiba installation in BankCity.

The iMadiba project is a global initiative involving an international network of artistic recreations of Nelson Mandela’s Robben Island cell. The micro-museums encourage personal reflection and promote conversation and dialogue.”

Mayor Mashaba told the audience that  City of Johannesburg  is going to be a construction site for the next few years.

“I am on cloud nine to see the response of the private sector. I am in loss of words to appreciate and thank FNB for doing this on their own.”

With tongue in cheek, the Mayor revealed his love for music especially jazz and night clubs.

“ I am a 60 years old selfish person. I am supposed to be enjoying my pension from Sassa, but here Iam a capitalist Mayor. I hope to go to jazz clubs around the City one day.”

Jacques Celliers, FNB CEO, told the crowd that when FNB opened its head office in Simmonds street, they expressed commitment to be a part of the growth and evolution of the Johannesburg city centre.

“Over the years, we have stayed true to this commitment by investing heavily, fostering partnerships with the City and private sector to make the inner-city a better place to work and live in.

“Our investment in BankCity is a tangible demonstration of our understanding of the vital role that inner-cities play as hubs of growth, inclusion, employment and contributors to social and economic development. As we continue our journey to be a trusted financial services provider, we are focused on expanding the network effect of our platform-led approach to instigate significant value creation for all our stakeholders,” said Celliers.

Lee-Anne van Zyl, CEO of FNB Corporate and Retail Estate is on record arguing that  people are the heart of the inner-city and their business, therefore the bank’s  vision is to create an environment that is safe and welcoming to the bank’s staff, residents and visitors to the inner-city.

She also revealed that currently, a third of more than 30 000 FNB employees work in BankCity, adding that hence  it’s important for them to embrace the lifestyle concept of Work. Eat. Play as part of their employee value proposition.

Van Zyl also highlighted and stressed that     the revamped BankCity precinct includes a variety of retail outlets offering a diverse range of eateries, shopping and lifestyle options for employees as well as all residents and visitors to the inner city.

“As part of FNB’s commitment to enterprise development and enabling the growth of small businesses, except for one flooring supplier, all the businesses contracted to provide materials and construction services for the upgrade were Gauteng based.

“Our continued investment will ensure that people get to experience BankCity and the inner-city in a very exciting and welcoming manner. We are excited about the possibilities that this revamp, combined with the ongoing rejuvenation of our two piazza areas, creates for fantastic working and living experiences, ranging from exciting urban markets, music and food festivals, and of course a growing tourism industry because of our partnership with the Red Bus tour company and the presence of our iMadiba installation. We are committed to not only being present in the Johannesburg inner-city, but being instrumental in the realisation of its full potential,”  Van Zyl argued.

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