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Wednesday Aug 24, 2011

R580m inner-city property development for Cape Town

A massive R580 million development, including flats, parking and retail space within walking distance of Parliament, is set to change the face of the Cape Town city centre.

Investment and property development company Eurocape's plans for the first phase include 9 900m² of retail space and parking.

The development, in Roeland Street and sections of Hope Street, includes the building housing Equal Education's Bookery and may have a supermarket as an anchor tenant.

This is the latest in a series of major city centre developments and comes as the national Department of Public Works is demolishing eight buildings in the vicinity of Parliament to create short-term parking for parliamentary staff.

The first phase would cost more than R216m, including the land, and the cost of all phases would be R580m, said Simphiwe Mathebula, Eurocape's sales and marketing manager.

Plans for phase one were at an advanced stage and planning approvals were in place, he said.

"Tenants for more than 40 percent of the retail space have been secured. As soon as the balance has been secured, ground breaking will commence."

Phase two would include 100 flats for "young city workers" while the third phase could include more flats or offices.

The development was expected to be completed in 2013.

Public Works spokesman Thami Mchunu said the eight buildings around Parliament, which are being demolished at a cost of R11m, would be replaced by surface parking for parliamentary staff in the short term.

In the long term it would be an extension to the parliamentary precinct which could include offices.

In 2009 it was reported that housing for MPs also formed part of Eurocape's plans.

Mathebula said this might be included in phase three.

Plans for MP accommodation in the precinct depended on funding and approvals, said Mchunu.

Demolition was expected to be completed in November.

The Cape Argus recently reported that a 32-storey skyscraper, which would be the city's tallest, was also expected to be completed by the end of 2013, and would accommodate about 3 000 people.

The R1.6 billion Portside building will be between Buitengracht, Hans Strijdom Avenue and Bree and Mechau streets.

It is the biggest commercial building project in the city since Safmarine House was built in 1993.

Michael Bagraim, president of the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the Eurocape and Portside developments showed "people have faith in the economy. Our city is making a comeback".

In April the Weekend Argus reported there were plans for the regeneration of six city precincts.

Public Works and Transport MEC Robin Carlisle said at the time these were the Artscape, Somerset, Prestwich Street, Government and Garage precincts and the area around Oude Molen, which would be named the Two Rivers Urban Park.

The Artscape Precinct would involve the expansion of the Cape Town International Convention Centre and the area around the theatre, and raising the Artscape Garden to freeway level, allowing for parking underneath.

The R4.5bn project would turn the area into a 24-hour entertainment zone, with coffee shops and about 30 000m 2 of retail space.

Plans for the Somerset Precinct, around Somerset Hospital, have not yet been finalised.

The plan for the Prestwich Street Precinct was to link the city with the V&A Waterfront via a pedestrian route similar to the fan mile between the CBD and Green Point for the Soccer World Cup.

The Government Precinct would centre on provincial government-owned buildings such as those in Dorp Street and the provincial administration building in Wale Street. Changes would include one main entrance to government buildings beneath the arches in Keerom Street, while a high-rise is to be built on the corner of Loop and Leeuwen streets to house government departments.

The Government Precinct comprises land in the Buitenkant, Mill, Hope and Roeland street areas. The government garage will move to the old abattoir site at Maitland, along with the ambulance depot, freeing up valuable land. Entrylevel housing is part of the plan.

The urban park around Oude Molen and the Valkenberg psychiatric hospital will be the base for a hi-tech medical park.

Cape Argus


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