Once heralded as the V&A Waterfront of Johannesburg, Brightwater Commons in Randburg is set to make a turnaround. The centre’s cobwebbed film cinemas and bowling alley will soon be studio space for Urban Brew Studios.
Urban Brew Studios will move to new, state-of-the-art facilities at Brightwater Commons early next year. Brightwater Commons, once a popular entertainment complex in northwest Johannesburg, has had a number of blows over the years.
In 2012, NuMetro closed 10 cinemas in the once bustling centre. That was followed by the shutting down of the bowling alley and in 2015 the popular flea market in the centre of Brightwater Commons also ceased operations. With the closures, a number of anchor stores also closed most recently Woolworths.
But just as things were looking glum, The Moolman Group has been tasked with turning 10 000 square metres of the shopping complex into the ultimate space for the production house, a division of Kagiso Media.
Urban Brew Studios’ new facilities will include, among other things, trendy office space for almost 300 staff members, 12 television studios, dedicated audio post-production and music compilation facilities, a business centre and meeting rooms.
The production house will take over the historical cinema and bowling alley area, with 10 of the existing movie cinemas being converted into studios and two new large studios being built.
Operations manager at Brightwater Commons Frans Fourie said deconstruction on site will begin this week. Fourie added: “We’re excited about this agreement and view it as a major driver for other future development of Brightwater Commons. Our vision sees further investment in this area of Randburg over the next few years.”
Acting CEO of Urban Brew Studios, Richard Tsai, added: “While we value our three-decade legacy, we have our eye firmly on the future and will now have the facilities to match our visions.”