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Rents in turning mode

Posted On Wednesday, 23 May 2001 03:01 Published by
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INVESTORS have committed more than R6bn to projects in the Cape Town city centre and V&A Waterfront, providing firm support for ambitious revitalisation efforts

INVESTORS have committed more than R6bn to projects in the Cape Town city centre and V&A Waterfront, providing firm support for ambitious revitalisation efforts that seek to prevent the wholesale surburban flight that has blighted other SA cities.
The Cape Town Partnership, a nonprofit public-private sector company dedicated to developing the city's commercial, cultural, leisure and tourist potential, is pursuing numerous other ventures aimed at eradicating "crime and grime" and restoring older sections of the CBD.
It is also close to completing a far-reaching research project comparing Cape Town's attributes as a tourism and investment destination with those of other major cities in SA and around the world, to be used in an aggressive marketing drive.
Commercial property agents say the flooding last month of a 300m section of the canal, that will eventually link the Cape Town Foreshore to the V&A Waterfront, heralds a new age for the city centre.
Among the projects recently completed or under construction are the Waterfront residential marina, which will cost R1,3bn, and the Roggebaai canal, the first section of which cost R40m.
Once completed in two years' time at a cost of R120m, the canal will be 1,9km long, running from the new convention centre at the bottom of Long Street, under the freeway, through the main entrance of the V&A and new marina via a lock next to the aquarium, before entering the tidal basin and restoring direct access to the sea.
Other major projects under construction are the Clocktower retail precinct in the waterfront complex at a cost of R850m, Investec's regional headquarters (R100m), the regional headquarters of Mediterranean Shipping (R70m), and the convention centre (R500m).
The Cape Town harbour is being redeveloped at a cost of R2bn, while Cape Town station will undergo a R1bn refurbishment. Numerous other city blocks in the area are also being revamped, such as the West Quay offices on the waterfront that is undergoing a R50m facelift, a R200m development in Strand Street and the refurbishment of Shell House.
The plan is to encourage the development of "theme" districts in the city, such as the existing financial services and energy clusters.
Others examples include the late-night entertainment area centred at the top of Long Street, a retail district on St George's mall and a legal district close to the high court.
Property developers expect that the renewed focus on the Foreshore will result in many of the older office buildings at the top end of town, above Wale Street, being converted to retail and residential blocks over time.
Cape Town Partnership CEO Michael Farr says the "macro plan" seeks to achieve the retention of existing business in the CBD, the attraction of new business and investment, and an increase in job creation.
The CBD already accounts for almost 30% of all employment in the Cape metropole.
Local authorities have established two funds to draw small businesses back into the CBD and restore older buildings. The business assistance and smart buildings funds will operate on a randfor-rand basis, with a maximum grant of R100000.

Publisher: Business Day
Source: Business Day
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