Standard Bank comissioner street Johannesburg
Standard Bank building, 88 Commissioner Steet, Johannesburg (Image: Broll Auctions and Sales)
  • The Third Standard Bank Chamber, opened in 1908 and described as "one of the most attractive historical buildings in Johannesburg," goes on auction on 28 October.
  • The iconic late-Victorian styled building, featuring ornate sculptures and unique stonework, towers above Commissioner Street in Marshalltown.
  • It once served as the bank's headquarters and was, for a time, its biggest branch in South Africa.
  • Its now likely to be converted into student accommodation or advocate chambers.
  • This comes shortly after the auction of another historic Standard Bank building in Adderley Street, Cape Town.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

The Standard Bank building at 88 Commissioner Steet in downtown Johannesburg first opened its doors in 1908. It will be auctioned off to the highest bidder at the end of October.

On the corner of Commissioner Steet and Harrison Street, in the once bustling old commercial centre of Johannesburg, sits one of the city's oldest remaining steel-framed buildings. A prime example of late-Victorian architecture, the work done by Stucke and Bannister more than a century ago has been recommended for national monument status.

Standard Bank comissioner street Johannesburg
Standard Bank building, 88 Commissioner Steet, Johannesburg (Image: Broll Auctions and Sales)

Architectural historian Gerhard-Mark van der Waal described it as "one of the most attractive historical buildings in Johannesburg." The Johannesburg Heritage Foundation classifies 88 Commissioner Steet as an "A-grade" building of "outstanding heritage value."

The Third Standard Bank Chamber, as it's more accurately known, with statues of Justice and Commerce towering above the double arch entranceway, was nominated as one of Johannesburg's top 100 heritage places in 1986.

Standard Bank comissioner street Johannesburg
Standard Bank building, 88 Commissioner Steet, Johannesburg (Image: Broll Auctions and Sales)

Throughout its 113-year history, the iconic building has served many different roles for Standard Bank. For a while, it was the bank's biggest branch and even housed its head offices. In its later years, the building, having undergone major internal renovations and external restorations, hosted interns as the Standard Bank Learning Centre.

Today, the historic building is empty. The stoneclad-columned icon, less than a kilometre away from Standard Bank's current headquarters on Simmonds Street, will be sold to the highest bidder on 28 October.

Standard Bank comissioner street Johannesburg
Standard Bank building, 88 Commissioner Steet, Johannesburg (Image: Broll Auctions and Sales)

"We've received numerous enquires throughout South Africa and investors are angling towards a residential conversion, college conversion or advocate chambers," Ish Hendricks, the group auctioneer at Broll Auctions and Sales, tells Business Insider South Africa.

The building features four floors built on top of a double volume chamber which is accessible via entrances at both corners of Harrison Street.

Standard Bank comissioner street Johannesburg
Standard Bank building, 88 Commissioner Steet, Johannesburg (Image: Broll Auctions and Sales)

Its 6,503 metre-squared gross lettable area (GLA) features the grand Banking Hall with central hopped roof light, offices, strongrooms, and elevators. An expansive rooftop area with corner detailing offers views of downtown Johannesburg facing east.

The auction of the Third Standard Bank Chamber comes just days after the building at 13 Adderley Street in the heart of Cape Town went under the hammer. "The Queen of Adderley Street", as it's affectionately known, was built in 1881. It served as Standard Bank's headquarters for 68 years and as a major branch until 2011.

Standard Bank comissioner street Johannesburg
Standard Bank building, 88 Commissioner Steet, Johannesburg (Image: Broll Auctions and Sales)

Standard Bank’s head of media relations, Ross Linstrom, told Business Insider SA that the auction of 13 Adderley Street in Cape Town and 88 Commissioner Street in Johannesburg were connected.

“The new ways of work have a lower reliance on real estate and the portfolio is essentially being optimised,” Linstrom told Business Insider SA. 

Standard Bank comissioner street Johannesburg
Standard Bank building, 88 Commissioner Steet, Johannesburg (Image: Broll Auctions and Sales)

Note: This article has been updated to include comment from Standard Bank on the auction of properties in Cape Town and Johannesburg.

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