The Alfred Street Complex
Situated between Prestwich, Chiappini, Hospital and Alfred streets, this complex forms part of the Prestwich Precinct, which borders the CBD and the V&A Waterfront.
According to the provincial government’s website, the 47 700m² complex is “a highly sought-after location for commercial and residential investment” and is made up of “four individual blocks built in 1953 with a maximum height of 6 storeys”.
Calling the area a “gateway to the Atlantic Seaboard”, the website lists the South African Police Services, the Cape Medical Depot and the province’s library services as the current occupants.
Commenting on Reclaim the City’s dispute with the provincial government, Christelle de Beer, a Brackenfell resident, who works in the area, said: “I personally think it would be better to use the space for mixed-income housing, because even one-bedroom flats in the CBD have become really expensive – especially if you are a single person.”
Ms De Beer, who said she spent an hour-and-a-half daily getting to work and back, added: “Besides, there are so many high-end businesses in this area already.”
Echoing this sentiment, Khayelitsha resident Norma Tshuntshe said: “It would be nice if it could rather be used for housing that was more affordable. Also, it would help ease the traffic congestion in the city, I think.”
Bordered by Hope, Glynn, Buitenkant and Wesley streets in Gardens is Top Yard. Similar to the Alfred Street Complex, the 46 484m² property is also located in prime real estate territory.
The provincial government states: “The property is currently utilised as a ground level parking facility with tarmac surfacing.
“An estimated 50 percent of Top Yard is utilised for storage of Government Motor Transport (GMT) vehicles, the remainder being utilised by the national Department of Public Works for parliamentarian parking. A relocation programme is already in place to vacate the property.”
It is described as “part of the Government Garage Precinct, located in the Cape Town CBD less than 500 metres from Parliament and the Company’s Garden.”
It adds that, as it is “adjacent to the Roodehek MyCiTi bus stop on Buitenkant Street and 200 metres from the Gardens MyCiTi bus station,” it is “highly accessible from a public transport perspective”.
Bongani Matabane, a resident in the area, said: “I prefer to see the space used for mixed-income housing. There are homeless people living here who are part of this community. The only thing separating them and everyone else is the fact that they don’t have a roof over their heads. Having private investors buying this property could make the place exclusive and will exclude a lot of people who need shelter. There are enough fancy buildings around and I don’t think this place needs more of those. It’s another form of gentrification.”
Mr Matabane added: “I moved into this area not more than a month ago. I had lived in Woodstock before, where something similar happened: people who have money come in and offer to buy out everyone so that they can turn the area into a ‘safe’ environment, a business hub, with expensive apartment blocks that promise to be equipped with the latest security. It’s like us middle-income folk are not meant to live anywhere close to the CBD.
“Before moving here it took me three months of searching. If it weren’t for a friend who told me that he was moving out, I would be forced to live in the suburbs or the West Coast, because those seemed to be my only options.
“I work here, in Gardens so it now takes me two minutes to walk to the office – as opposed to how I had to travel to the office. The provincial government needs to start being inclusive of everyone. Not only those who can afford it.”