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Monday Aug 02, 2010

Revamp of Miller's Point on the cards

Owners of the Black Marlin restaurant are willing to spend R500 000 on improvements and have asked that their lease be extended for five years. The City of Cape Town has approved a two-year extension and is preparing a long-term plan for the resort and others it owns.

Black Marlin came up with the plan to upgrade the area during its lease renewal application. Owners Kristensen Oceanfront Restaurants wanted the lease to be extended by five years, but the council approved an extension of only two years. Kristensen Oceanfront Restaurants is a wholly owned subsidiary of Tourvest Holdings, which is majority owned by Gijima Ast Holdings, a BEE company headed by billionaire ANC funder and Jacob Zuma ally Robert Gumede. The restaurant is on the road to the Cape Point Nature Reserve.

"The lessee is willing to spend approximately R500 000 upgrading the council's asset and the cancellation of the lease will result in job losses," a city report said. It said the property had been leased to JMB Teixeira in August 1996 and assigned to Kristensen in 1998 when it bought the business.

"The lease expired on July 31, 2006, but has continued on a month-to-month basis pending a decision on the future of the Miller's Point Resort. "The lessee also owns a number of other restaurants, including Bertha's in Simon's Town and Simon's at Groot Constantia." The company also owns La Med in Clifton, Quay Four at the V&A Waterfront, and the Boschendal Restaurant.

The city said Kristensen's wished to upgrade the property and surrounding area, including the parking area, and protect the buildings and customers from baboons. In a letter to the municipality, Kristensen managing director Mike Lumb asked that the lease be extended for five years at the current rental.

"This will enable us to plan our budget accordingly and to deal with the insecurity of our staff," he said. "The Black Marlin restaurant under the Kristensen banner has become a well-visited tourist attraction. It is our intention to upgrade the facility as well as the parking area for the convenience of our patronage." In his response, the city's director for sport, recreation and amenities, Gert Bam, said the city was reviewing its resorts and had developed a framework for the process. The objective was to maximise the benefits of the city's resorts.

"It is anticipated that the outcome of this project will have a profound impact on management models, including the continuation or otherwise of leases," said Bam. Councillors raised issues about the state of the Miller's Point resort in council last week. Councillor for the area Nicki Holderness (DA) said the resort was a true "jewel". "By the end of this year, we will have a clear plan."

ANC chief whip Peter Gabriel said the management of the resort had to be dealt with properly before a lease could be extended. Mayoral committee member Brett Herron said a two-year lease would allow the company enough time to invest in the property.

Cape Times

 
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