Development Corridor

Posted On Wednesday, 27 March 2002 02:00 Published by
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The Mandela Development Corridor (MDC) in central Pretoria will create a turnover of R1,8-billion a year for this inner-city area, as well as 9 000 job opportunities.

The Mandela Development Corridor (MDC) in central Pretoria will create a turnover of R1,8-billion a year for this inner-city area, as well as 9 000 job opportunities.

The project pivotal to the corridor's development is the Department of Trade and Industry's (DTI's) new campus-style head office, directly fronting the Apies River and Nelson Mandela Drive.

Consistent with a Cabinet directive last year requiring that any move by a national department be within the inner city, DTI and the City of Tshwane entered into a partnership in which the department would consolidate most of its departments and agencies on a four-hectare service delivery campus in West Sunnyside, Pretoria.

In turn the city would use the critical mass of the DTI move to create a surrounding ringfenced redevelopment area of 20 hectares, named the MDC, aimed at revitalising the inner city.

DTI agreed to design its campus in such a fashion that it enables the creation of a conference centre linked to the department's complex.

This will provide the economic impetus for the redevelopment of properties at the north-east and south-west corners of Meintjies and Esselen Streets; the revitalisation of the struggling Oeverzicht Village around the rejuvenated Breytenbach Theatre, restaurant and international crafts village; as well as as the planned expansion of the Caledonian Stadium to a combined sports and recreation complex, with a bridge linking the complex to the DTI campus.

The DTI project is being carried out as a public–private partnership, explains Peter Aborn, a consultant with international consulting firm Nathan and Associates, which has been seconded by the US Agency for International Development (USAid) to DTI for the duration of the project.

Aborn says the project will, by itself, bring a direct private sector capital investment that could reach R400-million for the construction of the campus complex, with this investment expected to bring about an additional R600-million to build the conference centre and other facilities.

An independent economic impact study commissioned by the city indicates that the DTI/Tshwane partnership will generate at least R1-billion in new construction within as soon as three years, as well as a net increase in gross domestic product of R363-million a year for the city.

The project will also add more than R5-million in rates and taxes to the city's coffers a year.

Aborn says three consortia, Rainprop, Dinaledi and Thusano, have been shortlisted for the final request for proposal phase for the DTI campus project.

Bids will be open on February 18, with groundbreaking for early works by April 1, although the city will start site clearing in March.

The DTI could move to its new campus by the end of next year.

DTI expects to pay R90-million a year (for 25 years) for the construction and management of the campus to the winning consortium, states Aborn.

Development of the entire corridor will be facilitated and championed by the recently-appointed Mandela Development Corridor company.

MDC company director Gerrit Jordaan says his company has already completed the urban design and land-use specifications for the area, indicating the criteria developers will have to adhere to.

The company is now in the process of releasing the council-owned land and buildings to developers expressing interest in the project.

Jordaan says developers may either buy the land, or opt for a long-term lease from the council.

He hopes the corridor will be fully developed by 2009, or even sooner.

About 60% of contracts for the development of the area will be awarded to black-empowerment companies, states Jordaan.

The urban design of the project includes a community centre around the historic Oost-End school, surrounded by a public square.

There will also be sufficient room allocated for retail, motor retail, office space and a hotel development, as well as parking facilities.

Other projects for the development corridor are lining Nelson Mandela Drive with corporate head offices, as well as upgrading the Apies river, currently running through a stormwater drain, to a fully fledged river with a parallel running pedestrian boulevard.

Esselen Street will also be given a facelift, parallel to the other upgrade programmes in Sunnyside.

Where buildings are faced away from the unattractive cement canal, Jordaan wants the new buildings to turn, and face what would be a green lung and pedestrian open space in the city.

To enable this transformation, the Apies river needs be cleaned up, fitted with litter traps and an early-warning flood alarm, as well as raised in level.

One important aspect for the development of the corridor is for vice industries, such as escort agencies, to be moved from the area.

Plans are under way to achieve this.

'We want to develop an actively managed urban area which is safe, vibrant and sustainable, but not in such a fashion that it becomes a second congested Sandton,' says Jordaan

Publisher: Eng News
Source: Engineering News

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