South Africa’s state-owned port and rail company Transnet is gauging interest from developers to rejuvenate a half-century-old building that is also one of Africa’s tallest.
The Carlton Centre, which opened in the 1970s and includes a 223-metre (732 feet) high office tower, indoor ice skating rink, shopping center, and a 663-room hotel, is located in the center of Johannesburg. The complex, built by Anglo American Properties Ltd, was designed by the architecture firm and skyscraper specialist Skidmore, Owings and Merrill.
Transnet “wishes to assess the availability of potential property developers, investors, funders, and financiers” for plans to redevelop the property “as part of its corporate strategy to optimize portfolio returns,” the company said in a statement Monday.
Transnet bought the landmark in 1999 from Anglo American Properties for R32 million ($1.9 million) to use as its headquarters.
The deterioration of the Carlton Centre has been documented in local reports. The abandoned indoor ice rink was found to have car skid marks on its skating surface.
The Carlton Hotel, closed since 1998 after receiving guests including Whitney Houston and Margaret Thatcher, was photographed by a pair of artists on an exchange program that found some areas preserved as a time capsule, according to a 2018 article in the Johannesburg-based Sunday Times.
The sale is in line with efforts by the state to refurbish unused buildings or invite the private sector to take over government properties. Eskom Holdings is making land available near its coal-fired plants to investors for renewable electricity generation.
Applications regarding Transnet’s request for information are due Aug. 31.