The first phase of the restoration of the Rissik Street Post Office has been completed. The JPC said it was happy to have met its March 2017 deadline for the structural rehabilitation of the building, after it was partially destroyed by fire in 2009. The facility also suffered theft and vandalism after being vacated by the Post Office in 1996.
“We’ve built a new steel frame into the interior. The project scope is extensive in that we first had to do some remedial work after the fire incident, then in 2011 we called for an Expression of Interest (EOI) for the restoration and use of the building”, says Helen Botes, CEO of JPC.
Originally built in 1897, the building is situated along Rissik Street within the Inner City and has been an important landmark for City of Johannesburg citizens for decades. It was declared a National Monument in 1978 and holds a provincial heritage status.
“We also had to take into cognisance, the heritage aspects of the building. For this reason, we brought in a Heritage Specialist to ensure that the work carried out was in compliance with the heritage regulations.” Botes also added that a Conservation Policy Document in this regard was then prepared.
The second phase, which is the restoration and redevelopment of the interior of the building for use, started in July 2017 and is expected to be finished by June 2018.
The City is planning to invest R80 million in the project over the next three years. The work on the exterior will include full heritage restoration, also to be undertaken in accordance with heritage guidelines and regulations.
The entity says it is considering a few possible uses for the building which range from a Museum or Interpretation Centre for Communications, building a visitor attraction and educational resource, which tells the story of human communications, a museum focusing on heritage and architecture or office space for private tenants in the communications sector. The restoration works are expected to be fully completed by June 2020.