Banking giant First National Bank (FNB) on Tuesday unveiled the first phase of its BankCity campus revitalisation project in the Johannesburg central business district (CBD).

The unveiling was attended by FNB executives and staff, as well as Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba.

Speaking at the unveiling, FNB CEO Jacques Celliers said the investment attested to the company’s commitment to inner-city revitalisation and to the city and the country, with investments at the company’s other campuses also being pursued.

The unveiling comes amid protests and unrest unfolding across sections of the city, with Celliers noting that the company was not blind to the problems facing the country. However, he indicated that FNB served as a beacon of hope, with its investments in projects such as the BankCity campus showcasing that its commitment remained firm.

The revitalised BankCity precinct offers a ‘work, eat, play’ experience through a combination of 34 retail tenants that are open to all residents and visitors of the inner-city and the nearly 12 000 FNB employees who occupy its properties spanning 181 000 m2.

The revamped BankCity precinct hosts various retail outlets offering a diverse range of eateries, shopping and lifestyle options for employees, as well as all residents of, and visitors to, the inner city.

Celliers noted that this formed part of the company’s commitment to enterprise development and enabling the growth of small businesses, as, except for one flooring supplier, all the businesses contracted to provide materials and construction services for the upgrade were Gauteng based.

Moreover, the first phase of the BankCity upgrade created 150 local jobs and the retailers in the precinct employ about 231 people. 

It took nearly 130 000 hours to produce brand new retail spaces and a colourful Fraser street surface which connects Pritchard and Jeppe streets.

A notable facet of the precinct is an iMadiba installation. The iMadiba project is a global initiative involving an international network of artistic recreations of Nelson Mandela’s Robben Island cell.

At BankCity, this Madiba micro-museum entails a meeting space seating area, which conforms to the exact size specification of Madiba’s cell on Robben Island. Celliers indicated that this space was created to engender personal reflection and promote conversation and dialogue.

The unveiling of the revamped precinct coincided with FNB’s celebration of its 180th anniversary and the fact that it was the country’s oldest bank.

Meanwhile, FNB Corporate and Retail Estate CEO Lee-Anne van Zyl said FNB aimed to create an environment that was safe and welcoming for staff, residents and visitors to the inner city.

Mashaba commended FNB and the private sector for contributing to inner city development, taking the lead from government’s drive to revitalise the city.

He also confirmed that the M2 highway, which had been closed for repairs and had impacted traffic flows in the inner city, would reopen, as scheduled, in October. https://www.engineeringnews.co.za/article/fnb-unveils-first-phase-of-revamped-bankcity-precinct-2019-09-03