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Monday Sep 14, 2015

Facelift for Cape Town's Greenmarket Square

Plans are on the cards to revamp Cape Town's Greenmarket Square and St George's Mall to 'increase vibrancy and maximise economic potential'.

There are plans to revamp Greenmarket Square to increase vibrancy and maximise economic potential.

This was announced by the City of Cape Town in a strategy to leverage cityowned assets to drive sustainable economic growth.

It forms part of the city's plans to revitalise the heart of Cape Town's business district.

The square is a tourist attraction where vendors sell clothing, glassware, fabrics and general curios. But business is sometimes quiet in off-seasons.

The city said it believed a new management model, based on partnerships with the private sector and public, would ensure the square and mall retained and enhanced their creativity, energy and edge.

Garreth Bloor, mayoral committee member for tourism, events and economic development, said the city believed its proposal to grant long-term management rights over a proposed five-year period would enhance the management of the square and mall.

"Greenmarket Square and St George's Mall are incredibly important economic, social and cultural heritage spaces," Bloor said.

These spaces needed to be"revitalised to ensure that they remain important and inclusive meeting places for all Capetonians".

In the past Greenmarket Square was managed by the city. It charged the teanants rentals. "Past attempts to effectively manage these specific public spaces have not yielded the desired results. This was partly because the necessary resources, capacity and partnerships were not secured."

Bloor said that public spaces lagged in receiving private sector investment, while other parts of the inner city had soared over the past 15 years. "Public spaces currently suffer from disjointed and fragmented approaches to management and operations. These spaces are key economic assets, which require constant and hands-on, day-to-day attention from entities that have a stake and an interest in their proper management."

To revitalise them, the city has proposing a phased approach. The first phase will take place over two years – conditions will be assessed, management models tested, and public and private sector support will be sought.

Boor said the second phase would be aimed at dealing with the "development of a proposed long-term public space management model, a precinct management master plan, a plan for the physical restoration and regeneration of public space, and other essential elements which are required to be put in place for the benefit of the city and the community".

Five years ago the city invested R4 million in the square to make it "people-friendly" and spruce it up before its 300th anniversary in 2010. Part of the upgrade involved the lifting of the granite cobbles so they could be cleaned and replaced.

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