The small hub of Milpark once had large factories and warehouses, which were turned into modern offices or residential property for young and creative people.
Formerly an industrial and production centre for Joburg, the small enclave known as Milpark has morphed. Today it’s a flourishing home, foodie and entertainment space especially attractive to those seeking an upmarket urban lifestyle.
Found in the shadow of the stark Egoli Gas Works, sandwiched between Richmond and Braamfontein, the small hub has it all – many live, work and play in the well-constructed space.
Large factories and warehouses, which used to house manufacturing concerns, have mostly been turned into fresh, modern office space or developed into residential areas with industrial finishes and excellent use of space for residents to access local services and restaurants. The integration of the festive 44 Stanley Ave complex has resulted in sought-after European-style loft living.
Simon Swart, property consultant for Jawitz Properties, says Milpark is made up of Braamfontein Werf and Sunnyside.
“The market is flattish at the moment, but there is good movement on smaller units in the area, with slow sales at the top ends.”
Three units sold above the R2 million mark in the past year, and 31 units changed hands in the price range below R500 000.
“The area is mostly sectional title units. Many former factories and industrial buildings have been converted into upmarket apartments or lofts and blend industrial feel with modern style, popular with creatives and young people,” says Swart.
Buyers seek good value close to school or work; the area is great for students and lecturers because of proximity to the University of Johannesburg, Wits and the African Film and Dance Academy (AFDA).
“As most homes in the area are sectional title within complexes, they offer 24-hour security. Proximity to town is a factor which influences area safety, but in general it is busy with lots of local foot traffic,” says Swart.
Loft lovers Steven Andrews and his wife of 23 years, Rachel, have owned an apartment for 12 years and lived in it for 10, since settling in, following a commuter lifestyle. Steven is an engineer and director and owner of a machine tool company; Rachel is head of design at Tetris Design & Build SA.
“I’ve always loved open, industrial spaces, so when this loft became available it was a ‘have to have’. Each one is different – New York-styled ones, ours is industrial, others more conventional, but they’re all cool in their own way.”
“When Rachel was in Durban and I was living here during the week on my own, our decor was more minimalistic, but when she moved to Joburg and into the loft fulltime, her influence became more apparent and now it’s furnished in a more eclectic manner and her love of design and the unusual have filtered into our home through the years,” says Andrews.
Andrews and his wife enjoy the food and entertainment hub on their doorstep and consider 44 Stanley to be their back yard.
“All our fave restaurants are at 44 Stanley. The Beer Yard is always popular for Thursday night shenanigans and Salvation Cafe is a local favourite; Il Giardino is vibrant and a favourite when either of us have clients to entertain.”