The City of Cape Town has awarded a lease to EMPEXT (PTY) LTD for the Green Point tennis courts.
The lease is for nine years and eleven months.
The company plans to build a multi-use sporting complex that would comprise on one portion, a club house for multi-purpose use including food court, sport medicine and physiotherapy facilities, sport federation, public meeting spaces, and on another portion, a multi-purposes field, two tennis courts and beach courts.
The property is located within the Green Point Common precinct and includes two portions, one north of Bill Peters Drive comprising a clubhouse and ancillary uses, and the sports facilities located between Bill Peters Drive and Helen Suzman Boulevard.
The previous lease between the City and the Crusaders Sports, which dates back to 1956, had remained in a state of limbo since 2010.
The City and the Crusaders Memorial Sports Club entered into a 25-year lease which commenced in September 1956 and was extended for 13 years, and then a further 15-year period to September 2009.
However, as part of the 2010 Green Point Common reconfiguration the lease was terminated in November 2008 and a 12-month interim lease was entered into in August 2010.
After that, the lease ran on a month-to-month basis.
In January 2018, the lease was terminated and the property has been vacant since then.
The City said they planned to make the property available to the market on a long-term lease basis for the purpose of developing and operating a multi-purpose sports complex.
Several organisations and individuals objected to the plan stating that the site could be used for affordable housing.
Among those was an objection from affordable housing activist group Ndifuna Ukwazi.
They said they were concerned about how City-owned public land was treated differently depending on where it is and who wants to use it.
“While public land in poor and working class areas is made available for affordable housing, public land in wealthier well-located areas is often reserved for outright sale, or leased at very low rates to clubs, associations and other private interests for the enjoyment of very few residents.
“This land has the potential to accommodate a good amount of affordable housing and we understand that the law requires the City to prioritise service delivery over other uses, which becomes especially important when combined with its obligation to advance spatial justice,” they said.
Sharing these sentiments, Mike Irwin of the Friends of Homeless said he applauds the City’s efforts to begin introducing more social housing in the city. “However, let’s start building social housing not only in areas mainly besieged by crime like Steenberg. Sea Point needs to contribute to this and Erf 1056 is ideal.
I also object to the proposed lease for any other purposes than social housing,” he said.
The City said the need for affordable housing cannot be overplayed but this site was not appropriate for such development as the development envelope was already limited and will further be restricted by the pending heritage grading.