Building ‘New York of Africa’ in Johannesburg

Building ‘New York of Africa’ in Johannesburg

A Hong Kong-based company plans to build a hub for Chinese firms investing in sub-Saharan Africa that it says will be on a par with New York and Hong Kong, Bloomberg reports.

Shanghai Zendai Property Ltd. plans to transform 4,000 acres in a Johannesburg suburb into the “New York of Africa” with a $7.8 billion investment over the next 15 years, company Chairman Dai Zhikang said.

The Chinese developer paid $106 million for the land, it said in a statement.

The development will include up to 35,000 houses, an educational center and sport stadium on land purchased from AECI Ltd. in Modderfontein, Eastern Johannesburg. Currently used for manufacturing, the area is nine miles east of Sandton – dubbed Africa’s Richest Square Mile – and nine miles west of O.R. Tambo International Airport, Africa’s largest airport.

The land is home to an explosives factory opened in 1896 to support the gold-mining industry. It includes wetlands that will be protected, and could become the equivalent of Central Park in New York, Dai said.

“It will become the future capital of the whole of Africa,” Dai said at a press conference. “This will be on par with cities like New York in America or Hong Kong in the Far East.”

There’s a demand for such a development in Johannesburg, Dai told reporters. The city doesn’t have enough space to cater to the growing demand for offices and homes, he said.

Shanghai Zendai will invest its own money in the project and work with other developers, Zhikang told Bloomberg. Once complete, the city is expected to provide jobs for 100,000 people and house about 100,000 more.