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Tuesday Dec 11, 2012

Green Point property owners give stadium plans a guarded nod

The Green Point Ratepayers' and Residents' Association will "wholeheartedly" support the commercialisation of the Cape Town Stadium, but it doesn't want any more buildings around the stadium.

Many Green Point residents were opposed to the stadium being built, citing sustainability, high costs, high noise levels and traffic volumes. To appease residents, the province imposed restrictions banning commercial activity.

But the city has now asked these residents to comment on the business plan to commercialise the struggling R4.5 billion venue to make it financially viable.

Bob Goebel, chairman of the association, said although they supported the commercialisation of the stadium, he was apprehensive. "I am happy if they commercialise within the stadium itself. What I am concerned about is an extension of above 5 percent coverage which is written into the record of decision (RoD).

The 5 percent coverage condition means buildings cannot cover more than 5 percent of the Green point Common land.

Goebel said currently the building coverage is at 4.7 percent.

Last week, the city opened the public participation process asking residents to comment on seven business models to make the stadium financially viable before applying to the province to unban commercial activity and overturn the RoD.

The city is operating the stadium with no anchor tenant and will never make a profit if it continues with this model.

Talks are continuing with the Western Province Rugby Union (WPRU) to move to Cape Town Stadium from Newlands.

Some of the commercial aspects the city is looking at incorporating at the stadium are a nightclub, hotel, paid parking facilities, restaurants and sports bars, a gym, banqueting and conferencing facilities, retail space and a sports centre.

"The best option for me is for WPRU to move to Cape Town Stadium," Goebel said. "It would save them huge costs in making Newlands a firstclass venue for rugby.

"Provided the 5 percent coverage is not exceeded, we would welcome, encourage and wholeheartedly support the development of the stadium as a commercial venture," Goebel said.

Fred Jacobs, president of the Cape Chamber of Commerce, also supports the commercialisation of the stadium, saying it was an avenue the city could "absolutely not ignore".

"I've read through the business models thoroughly and we feel public consultation with ratepayers is integral to the process of commercialising the stadium.

"However, we have to look at the entire metropole, and not just the stadium, when looking at how to develop economic opportunities," Jacobs said. He said a private/public partnership was the best way to go.

Cape Times

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