Carlton Centre

The Carlton Centre is a 50-storey skyscraper and shopping centre located on Commissioner Street in central Johannesburg, South Africa. At 223 metres (732 ft), it is the third tallest building in Africa after The Leonardo, also in Johannesburg, and the Iconic Tower in Egypt. The foundations of the two buildings in the complex are 5 m (16 ft) in diameter and extend 15 m (49 ft) down to the bedrock, 35 m (115 ft) below street level. The building houses both offices and shops, and has over 46 per cent of the floor area below ground level.

Carlton Centre
Carlton Centre 2.jpg
General information
TypeMulti use, Office, Shopping mall
LocationCommissioner Street, Johannesburg, South Africa
Coordinates26°12′20″S 28°2′48″E / 26.20556°S 28.04667°E / -26.20556; 28.04667 (Carlton Centre)Coordinates: 26°12′20″S 28°2′48″E / 26.20556°S 28.04667°E / -26.20556; 28.04667 (Carlton Centre)
Construction started1967
Roof223 metres (730 ft)
Technical details
Floor count50
Floor area75,355 square metres (811,110 sq ft)
Design and construction
Architect(s)Skidmore, Owings and Merrill
Main contractorMurray & Roberts Construction now called Concor

The Carlton Centre is linked to the Carlton Hotel by a below-ground shopping centre with over 180 shops.[1]


Design and constructionEdit

The Carlton Centre was designed by the US 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.[2] Excavations for the Carlton began in January 1967, and took two years to complete. Original department store anchors of the two shopping levels, Garlick's and OK Bazaars.[3] Although occupation of the centre began in 1971, construction was not finally completed until 1974. The building officially opened in 1973 at a total cost of over R88 million.[4] The design of the tower is very similar to that of One Seneca Tower in Buffalo, New York, completed in 1973.


The building is the head office of transport parastatal Transnet, who purchased it in 1999 from Anglo American Properties (Amprop). In June 2007, then Transnet group chief executive Maria Ramos revealed the company's intention to offer the building for sale. The Carlton Centre had served as Transnet's headquarters since 2000; it had also been the headquarters of AECI in the 1980s and 1990s before the city's urban decay began, after the parastatal purchased it for R33 million from Anglo American Properties.[5] The disposal of the property forms part of Transnet's restructuring programme, which includes the disposal of non-core assets. Due to the economic downturn that began in 2008, the parastatal announced it would not seek a buyer until markets recovered.

Although Transnet has given no indication of the price, the replacement cost of the building has been estimated at R1.5 billion.[6]

The centre, after being almost empty, now has 93 percent occupancy of its office space and retail occupancy of 65 percent. Pick n Pay plans to take 3,000 square metres in the centre and the South African Revenue Service has moved from Rissik Street to its premises of 5,000 square metres in the centre. While there have been proposals to reinstate the Carlton Hotel at some stage, no official announcements to this end have been made.[7]

Other informationEdit

The 50th and topmost floor of the Carlton Centre was called the Carlton Panorama and is known colloquially as the "Top of Africa". Once the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere, the Carlton Centre opened with the 5-star and 30-storey Carlton Hotel taking up most of the floor space of the complex. The hotel was popular among the rich and famous, hosting many famous guests over the years. Urban decay in the inner city during the 1990s affected the hotel, which ceased operations in 1998 after nearly 25 years of operation.[8]


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Carlton Centre Office Tower". Emporis. Retrieved 21 February 2012.[dead link]
  2. ^ "History". Transnet. Archived from the original on 27 September 2008. Retrieved 9 December 2008.
  3. ^ "Carlton Centre (brochure)" (PDF). 1970. Retrieved 28 February 2021.
  4. ^ Jones, Rodney. "Johannesburg Landmarks: Carlton Centre". Rodney Jones. Retrieved 21 February 2012.
  5. ^ Terence Creamer (29 June 2009). "Parastatals should contribute to housing obligations". Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 21 February 2012.
  6. ^ Ian Fife (22 June 2007). "Transnet to cash in Carlton". Financial Mail. Retrieved 21 February 2012.[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ City of Johannesburg (16 June 2012). "Dusting off the Carlton". Archived from the original on 9 June 2012. Retrieved 16 June 2012.
  8. ^ "Carlton Centre – Attractions – Gauteng Tourism Authority". Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 1 May 2014.

[1]Carlton Center/Johannesburg/50floors/223m (730 ft) - SkyscraperPage Forum

Preceded by Tallest building in Africa
223 m

Succeeded by