Development triggers: International Convention Centre sparking great interest.

Posted On Sunday, 20 October 2002 10:01 Published by
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FUNDAMENTAL changes in Cape Town's central business district have helped to create myriad opportunities for property owners and tenants.

FUNDAMENTAL changes in Cape Town's central business district have helped to create myriad opportunities for property owners and tenants.

 

Theodore Yach, a well-known city property broker, believes the success of 'Town', as Capetonians  call their city centre, depends on capitalising on some of the 'development triggers' that have already been put in place.

 

Yach, who was closely involved with the establishment of the Cape Town Partnership and the subsequent creation of a City Improvement District, says the most important 'development triggers' so far have been the Cape Town International Convention Centre and the new Investec building on the Foreshore.

 

'Since July 2000 there has been a steady investment flow into the CBD, largely driven by convincing the board of the Convention Centre to locate on the Foreshore. To date

 

R2.75 billion (private and public money) in fixed investment has been poured into the CBD,' Yach said.

 

'The Convention Centre opens in July 2003 and is already substantially booked for the first three years, which will surely drive permanent changes to the CBD.'

 

Yach said other catalysts for development include the Scorpions' new home in Buitengracht Street, Honda's move into the old McCarthy's property on the corner of Strand and Buitengracht streets, the Roggebaai Canal linking the V & A Waterfront to the Foreshore and the redevelopment of Adderley Park in Adderley Street.

 

'Town' has experienced a number of fundamental changes in the last three years, Yach said, including major capital investment, relief of parking problems on the streets in the Pilot Area, renewed interest of retailers, increased visibility of security, a marked improvement in cleanliness and an increase in tourists.

 

'The most important structural challenges 'Town' faces going forward are the provision of safe and credible public transport facilities and the ability to attract Capetonians back to the city streets,' he said.

 

'Another challenge facing 'Town's' profitable success is the alleviation of poverty. Anyone who flies into Cape Town International on a regular basis will understand the growing problem of poverty in Cape Town. Whilst the Western Cape unemployment figures are better than the national average (23% opposed to 41% nationally) we still have a major problem that business is going to need to assist government with,' he said.

 

'Solutions hinge on looking at creative financing mechanisms in order to create the necessary funding to address specifically the public transport and poverty-alleviation

challenges.'

 

However, Yach said, the city centre had been in a state of decline five years ago.

 

'After a number of years of council diverting their services to other parts of the Cape Peninsula, in an effort to equalise services across the municipality, coupled with institutional disinvestment in fixed property, the value of properties in the CBD had already fallen in some cases by more than 50%,' he said.

 

But efforts were under way to arrest the slide and by November 1999 the Cape Town Partnership was formally constituted as a partnership between private business, the City Council and the Provincial Government.

 

Michael Farr was employed as CEO and a vision was created: 'To create a 24-hour World Class City.'

 

First on the agenda was to create a clean and safe environment within the CBD.

 

After much negotiation the City Improvement District has levied an extra charge over and above the rates to property owners in 'Town', which has enabled the CID to pay for extra security and cleansing.

 

Public surveys have since shown a dramatic improvement in the delivery of services as well as public perception towards 'Town' since the implementation of the central City Improvement District.

 

l For more information contact Theodore Yach of Theodore Yach Property Services on 021 425 6979 or 082 441 7784.
Publisher: Weekend Argus
Source: Weekend Argus

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