(formerly the Randburg Waterfront
), located in Ferndale
in the Gauteng
province of South Africa, is one of Johannesburg
's better-known entertainment, restaurant and shopping centres. Previously known as the Randburg Waterfront, it used to sport a large artificial lake around which all the shopfronts were built (mimicking the V&A Waterfront
in Cape Town
The Randburg Waterfront was originally built in 1994
, and was comprised of a large oval of shops and restaurants surrounding a lake in a natural depression in President Ridge in Randburg, fed by the Jukskei River
Shop fronts were constructed to have nautical
theme, and the artificial lake had a motorised fountain system built-in, which would give evening synchronised light and water displays to the score of classical
and contemporary music
The Waterfront was plagued by several delays in building, and the intended completion date of the complex was pushed back several times; when the official opening day came around, several visitors complained that many stores were uncompleted or not fully furbished.
The Waterfront suffered a decline in visitors after 2000, and as a result some of the many restaurants and small shops were forced to close. Addressing this slump in business, the Waterfront owners, Gray Property Trust, identified several issues leading to the economic downward spiral of the centre. These issues included a too-high restaurant density, insufficient retail space, clubs that encouraged drug abuse (most notably the since-closed infamous Morgan's Cat Nightclub), and - ironically - the large body of water itself, which effectively separated the restaurants from each other and had, by 2000, begun to smell rancid.
From Waterfront to Brightwater
Gray Property Trust invested R80-million (approx. $12.5 mil, €10.4 mil, £7 mil) in refurbishing the ailing complex. An active decision to make the Waterfront a more 'active retail experience' prompted the redevelopment to greatly reduce the size of the artificial lake to a large central pond, which still features the musical fountains
- drawing large crowds for the shows at 7pm and 8pm daily, as well as a meandering artificial river on the southern side. The area previously occupied by water was made into a grass park, which was then carved up by numerous walkways, and the centre of which a formal flea market was constructed.
The nautical theme of the Waterfront was replaced in favour of a Bohemian-cum-English commons feel, the idea of which lent itself to the complex's new name; The Brightwater Commons.
Today, the centre is active and busy, with various events such as live bands and concerts ensuring a respectable number of visitors.
There are currently further massive improvements in progress to the shopping complex, with the addition of a major Woolworths
store and a revamp of the eastern side. This is expected to further solidify the Brightwater Commons as a major retail hub in the area, and attract even more customers to the once again thriving location.
Retailers, Restaurants Entertainment
The Brightwater Commons, most well-known for its wide selection of restaurants which offer a variety of cuisines, also hosts a large cinema complex, a mini-golf
course, a laser-paintball arena as well as a broad selection of specialty stores. Currently the centre's anchor store
is a large Pick-n-Pay
supermarket, but the new Woolworths
will balance the centre equally across the complexes opposite poles.