Downtown Joburg enthusiasts are buzzing about the Sheds @1Fox.

This is one of those quintessentially Jozi projects that make me love living in this city. In short: There is a complex of cavernous, historic warehouses where Fox Street dead-ends on the western edge of the city. These warehouses were formerly part of Anglo American and are now owned by the Johannesburg Land Company.

Until recently, the buildings were slated to be torn down to make way for an office building. But a group of Jozi-lovers, including Gerald Garner of JoburgPlaces and Jan and Jay Roode of Happy.Me, are now working with the Johannesburg Land Company to develop the warehouses into an innovative “food, wine and lifestyle emporium”. The Sheds @1Fox are scheduled to open during the Joburg City Festival in October 2014.

The buildings are currently empty except for some piles of rubbish, crude graffiti, and lots (and lots) of pigeon poop. Construction will start any day now.

This week I got a behind-the-scenes look at what will soon become the Sheds @1Fox. I took about 1,000 pictures, knowing this was my last chance to photograph the place before everything changes. I suspect that the before-and-after comparison will be dramatic. In the meantime, here is the “before”:

Gerald at ShedsGerald outside one of the warehouses.

Inside Sheds wide

The first area to be developed. This huge room will house “pop-up” market stands between October and December 2014. The pop-up stands will eventually transform into more permanent retail spaces.

Show House

There are some really cool old signs scattered around. At some point along the line there was a real estate company here.

High Explosives

High explosive loading area?

Rubbish in room

An oddly beautiful pile of half-burned rubbish.

Graffiti corner

I also find the profane graffiti to be oddly beautiful.

Toilet and graffiti

And the toilet too. Especially the toilet.

Toilet fish-eye

I love this toilet so much that I had to capture it with my fish-eye lens. It was my last chance. I doubt the toilet will survive the refurbishment.

Wall of Fame

Wall of fame. Or shame.

Sheds outside

These sheds look as if someone painted graffiti on them and then someone else tried unsuccessfully to wash it off.

Sheds warehouse

Last look at the empty sheds. The next time you see this room it will be full of awesome stuff.

I could say much more about the Sheds @1Fox but I think I’ll save the rest for when it opens. In the meantime, you can direct questions to

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