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Bus Lane
hillbrow-tram-in-twist-street-undated-ph2005-16532.jpgAs corporates began moving out of the CBD in the 1970s with the rise of suburban shopping centres, Eloff Street started to lose some of its attraction. In an effort to arrest this decline, it was decided to make the street a bus way, in which it would be closed to cars in a north-south direction, while the west-east intersections remained open. Buses would thus bring shoppers into Eloff Street. The scheme was adopted in June 1978, the same month that Foschini was granted a demolition permit for Markham.

Eloff Street was given a facelift, with trees, paving, light fittings and street furniture transforming its look.

Nonetheless, Foschini watched as Markham's revenue fell, concluding that the building "was totally unsuitable for retail purposes".

"In order to reverse the decline in turnover and take advantage of the prospective increase in customer flow from the Eloff Street Busway, Foschini believed the best option was demolition and redevelopment," states Ball.

Foschini considered renovating the building but this was rejected; instead it was felt that the building offered "few benefits [that] would accrue to customers and staff".

Another option was to retain the facades and clock tower, gutting the inside and re-creating the store. But this was also rejected by Foschini. In addition, it was established that the building was a potential fire hazard.