Big businesses leaving Newtown

Posted On Friday, 04 November 2011 02:00 Published by
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Big Businesses are moving out of Joburg's Newtown Precinct, sparking rumours that electricity, rent and rates were too high for some.

By Patience Bambalele

Big Businesses are moving out of Johannesburg's Newtown Precinct, sparking rumours that electricity, rent and rates were too high for some.

Among those deserting the popular cultural hub is Kaya FM. The radio station is moving back to Rosebank next year. Situated on Bolton Road for several years, this time Kaya FM will move to Jan Smuts Avenue.

Blue IQ, Xarra, Cappellos and the Gauteng Tourism Authority have already moved.

Kaya FM station's managing director, Greg Maloka, said the move was not entirely triggered by the Johannesburg Development Agency's high costs.

Maloka said their move was influenced by their growth and to accommodate the demands and requirements of a dynamic business.

"A number of buildings were looked at, including in Newtown, but our best option was to build a new structure.

"We responded to challenges of space and economics that must be suited to where the business needs to go," he said.

Sources in the know say most of the businesses are moving out of Central Place Building because of rising rentals.

Grant Harrison of Kaldi's Coffee Shop agreed that the rates had increased a lot.

"It is difficult to operate under these circumstances. Everyone is leaving because of the rates. We had discussions with the JDA, but have seen no change.

"We were supposed to meet each other halfway, but that is not happening yet," he said.

But Xarra Bookshop owner Khanyiso Mguni denied that they moved because of the high rates.

"We moved because we are changing our strategy. We are venturing online and moving to Hillbrow was the right move for us," Mguni said.

Blue IQ's group executive for marketing, communications and events, Stephen Watson, refuted the claims, saying the rent was market-related.

"The rental is negotiated with tenants at great length and tenants signed the rental offers.

"Blue IQ's and GTA's moves are in line with the Gauteng Department of Economic Development's directive to centralise government services.

"Agencies, among others, Gauteng Economic Development Agency, Gauteng Economic Propeller and Gauteng Film Commission are all relocating to 124 Main Street to create a one-stop service centre for the public," Watson said.

He said Sophiatown Restaurant and Kaldi's Coffee Shop were expanding.

Source: Sowetan

Publisher: I-Net Bridge
Source: I-Net Bridge

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