Ponte Tower

By Xah Lee. Date: .

Tower of Terror

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Ponte Tower

Ponte Tower | Johannesburg, South Africa was built in 1975 to a height of 173 m (567.6 ft), making it the tallest residential skyscraper in Africa. The 55-story building is cylindrical, with an open center allowing additional light into the apartments. The center space is known as “the core” and rises above an uneven rock floor. When built, Ponte City Tower was seen as an extremely desirable address due to its views over all of Johannesburg and its surroundings.

During the late 1980s, gang activity had caused the crime rate to soar at the tower and the surrounding neighbourhood. By the 1990s, after the end of apartheid, many gangs moved into the building and it became extremely unsafe. Ponte City Tower became symbolic of the crime and urban decay gripping the once cosmopolitan Johannesburg neighbourhood. The core filled with debris five stories high as the owners left the building to decay.

In May 2007, Ponte changed ownership and a re-development project called New Ponte was put in motion. The planned development would have contained 467 residential units, retail and leisure-time areas. In 2010, the subprime mortgage crisis caused the banks not to provide the funding and the revitalization was cancelled.

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