MY BANK IS MY CITY CENTRE
BARCLAYS PLC CONTROLLED Absa is spending R1,1bn building a new innercity office block in central Johannesburg to house its new group head office and an additional 3 600 staff.
SA’s three biggest retail banks – Absa, Standard Bank and FNB – have remained in the Johannesburg city centre despite continued urban degeneration and failing services. However, FNB recently revealed that it would be relocating its WesBank asset finance division and group mortgage business outside the city centre to a new RMB development near the N3 motorway, 20km north of the city centre.
In order to remain in the city centre and develop the bank’s campus, the group has demolished several city blocks to make way for the new Absa Towers West, adjacent to the group’s current head office. The new Absa building will span three city blocks and comprise an office building taking up two blocks, with a bridge over Marshall Street, and a parkade on the third block.
“It won’t look like a parkade,” says Sipho Mashinini, managing executive of Absa Real Estate Asset Management, “and will provide space for 3 200 vehicles.”
The reality for both Absa and FNB is that increasing numbers of their staff are driving to work and parking in the CBD is now a priority for managers.