In some cases, landlords left buildings unmanaged, leaving tenants confused and vulnerable to organised gangs of building hijackers.
In time, much of the city deteriorated into a disgusting slum of crumbling, unserviced buildings and crime-ridden streets.
But the gentrification of the inner city is slowly putting the shine back into this historic metropolis.
Buildings like One Eloff, which was once a warehouse for high-end cars in what was traditionally the city’s motoring hub, is now a trendy residential and business hub.[Refreshed: Buildings like One Eloff, which was once a warehouse for high-end cars in what was traditionally the city’s motoring hub, is now a trendy residential and business hub (Delwyn Verasamy/M&G)]The ground floor serves as business space, with small retail shops, coffee shops, art workshops and a restaurant.
The top floor, where once engines roared and tyres screeched, has now been transformed into bachelor and two-bedroomed units.
It is estimated that, on average, 10 000 people from across the country and beyond its borders migrate to Johannesburg every month.
(Delwyn Verasamy/M&G)]He is an active player in the gentrification of the inner city that has turned commercial buildings, old office blocks, warehouses, garages and derelict residential blocks being rescued from near-collapse and converted into trendy, modern living spaces.
Katz reckons it will never be possible, at least not in the near future, to create sufficient accommodation to cater for the thousands of people who pour into the city every month.“We will never, ever, ever.
All roads lead to the roaring big city, just as they have since the 1886 gold rush that gave birth to this bustling metropolis.
Whereas in years past the Jo’burg inner city was mainly a place where people came to work during the day before retiring to homes in far-flung townships, suburbs or informal settlements in the evenings, it is now increasingly becoming a place in which people sleep and set up homes.