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Point development to launch

Posted On Wednesday, 12 September 2001 03:01 Published by
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DURBAN The long-awaited Point waterfront development will be officially launched in mid-October after the R657m financing package for the marine theme park

DURBAN The long-awaited Point waterfront development will be officially launched in mid-October after the R657m financing package for the marine theme park, which will kick-start the venture, went through the final tweaking yesterday.
The unicity executive committee announcement yesterday follows the public presentation in June of its long-term development framework. Mayor Obed Mlaba said at the time the proposed marine park was the key project in the council's 10year development plan.
However, project directors Neels Brink and Cyril Gwala could only reveal a general Point precinct development plan, as the financial package was still being finalised. Their presentation to council yesterday was the long awaited green light.
Financing will be R457m in equity and R200m in debt.
Durban has a long and chequered history with developing a waterfront.
The prospect was first mooted in the 1980s, but despite grandiose plans, including one that had a statue of King Shaka at the harbour entrance on a scale rivalling the Statue of Liberty in New York, and a number of investors, the project never got off the ground.
That was until the council, which with Transnet, Portnet and Malaysian property development Rocpoint, holds land in the area, took matters into its own hands.
Earlier this year the council earmarked over R2bn for large-scale projects in Durban over the next five years, including the marine theme park.
Last year it committed R100m in seed capital to the waterfront project and conducted a feasibility study. The June budget ring-fenced R357m for the venture.
The development, expected to open in December 2003, will be the single largest council-led investment in Durban since the International Convention Centre in the early 1990s.
It includes an oceanarium as the new headquarters for the SA Association for Marine Biological Research and a water and entertainment park.
The park will be pitched at domestic tourists and local residents, who total about 1,4-million visitors a year. Previous waterfront developments have stumbled over land ownership issues and the key to this project is the consolidation of ownership into a single entity.
The land will be collapsed into a joint venture between the council and Rocpoint (the land owners who are involved in the first stage of the development), with the joint venture appointing a professional property management and development company which will drive the project.
The joint venture will develop the infrastructure on 30000m² of land a year for eight years and unpackage this for sale and development to the private sector.


Publisher: Business Day
Source: Business Day
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