Regional market opens at historic landmark
ANEW regional market opens its doors at 4pm today opposite Park Station in Newtown and close to the Nelson Mandela Bridge.
The structure used to be the original building of the old Park Station. Because of its historic value it was restored and moved from Park Station to Kempton Park in 1995 and served as a training centre for train drivers.
It was later “dumped” on a piece of land in Newtown belonging to Transnet.
The structure was manufactured in Rotterdam in the Netherlands between 1896 and 1897 and transported to Joburg from Cape Town section by section.
It had been commissioned by the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek and operated by the Netherlands South African Railway Company, which later became Transnet.
The structure stood empty after it was moved to Newtown, where it was invaded by squatters for many years.
That was until two businessmen, Nkululeka Ngubane and Louis Masega, who drove past it every day, realised the potential.
They approached the City of Joburg for assistance to have it moved, as well Transnet, which owns the land and the structure.
The homeless were relocated and roped in to help clean up the site.
Today, the building and surrounding property, which gives a spectacular 360-degree view of the city, is used for product launches, film and television shoots, quadbiking, music and fashion events, and as a wedding venue.
Regular Sunday morning yoga classes are also held there.
It can accommodate between 2 000 and 3 000 people.
Ngubane and Masega decided to start a new market featuring shows from other regions such as Ekurhuleni, Tshwane and Mogale City.
The pair are also keen to see small traders prosper on the premises.
The businessmen are co-operating with the nearby City Lodge, the Newtown Junction mall and businesses in the vicinity to market the venue.
The pair say they are also working with the various tourism authorities. Their aim is to have groups of tourists in an open-air tourist bus stop at their market and spend their foreign currency.
The Dutch government is also assisting with the creation of jobs and skills.
The ambassador of the Netherlands has visited and is keen to help, because of the historic links.
The building dates back to the Dutch Wilhelmine period and is one of the oldest surviving structures in Joburg.
Its historic beauty is accentuated especially when it is lit up at night.
Visit their website www. thestationza.com for more information.
SPRUCED UP: The structure in Newtown has been restored to its former glory.