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Carlton Centre

A view of the tower from street level.
General information
Location Johannesburg, South Africa
Coordinates 26°12′20″S 28°2′48″E / 26.20556°S 28.04667°E / -26.20556; 28.04667Coordinates: 26°12′20″S 28°2′48″E / 26.20556°S 28.04667°E / -26.20556; 28.04667
Status Completed
Opening 1973
Use Multi use, Office, Shopping mall
Roof 223 metres (730 ft)
Technical details
Floor count 50
Floor area 75,355 square metres (811,110 sq ft)
Companies involved
Architect(s) Skidmore, Owings and Merrill
Owner Transnet
The view to the west from the observatory of the Carlton Centre

The Carlton Centre is a skyscraper and shopping centre located in downtown Johannesburg, South Africa. At 223 metres (730 ft), it is the tallest building in Africa and about half the height of the Willis Tower (the former Sears Tower) in Chicago. It was the tallest building in the southern hemisphere when originally completed. The Carlton Centre has 50 floors, and is 223m tall, about 3m short of featuring in the world's top 100 skyscrapers. The foundations of the two buildings in the complex are 3.5m in diameter and extend 20m down to the bedrock, 30m below street level. The building houses both offices and shops, and has over 46 per cent of the floor area below ground level.[1] A viewing deck on the 50th floor offers views of Johannesburg and Pretoria.

The Carlton Centre is linked to the Carlton Hotel by a below ground shopping centre with over 180 shops as well as an ice skating rink all set below an above ground public plaza[2].


The Carlton Centre was designed by the American architectural firm Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. Anglo American Properties began construction in the late 1960s by demolishing the old Carlton Hotel and the closing roads to form a city superblock.[3] Excavations for the Carlton were started in January 1967, and took two years to complete. This was done for the pilons that would eventually driven into the ground to support the new structure. Although occupation of the Centre began in 1971, it was not until 1974 that most of the construction was completed - at a cost of over R88 million[4]. The building was officially opened in 1973.[3]

The building is the head office of transport parastatal Transnet, which has owned the complex since 1999. In June 2007 Maria Ramos, Transnet group chief executive revealed Transnet's intention to offer the building for sale. The Carlton Centre has been serving as Transnet's headquarters since 2000, when the parastatal purchased it for ZAR R32 million from Anglo American Properties. The disposal of the property forms part of Transnet's restructuring program which includes the disposal of non-core assets.

Although Transnet has given no indication of the price, the replacement cost of the building has been estimated at ZAR R1.5 billion.[5]

The high crime rate in the downtown area of Johannesburg encouraged many of the buildings former tenants to relocate to more secure locations. The adjoining Carlton Hotel Y-shaped sister building has been closed-down and abandoned since 1997 due to low occupancy associated with urban decay of the city centre.[6] The Carlton Centre itself remains in use however.[7].


External links



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