The City of Cape Town has approved, in principle, the controversial plan to develop a site in the stadium precinct.
The plan was approved by full council on Thursday May 26, allowing the granting of long-term rights to use, control and/or manage a large gravel overflow-parking site next to the Cape Town Stadium on Granger Bay Boulevard.
Meanwhile various ratepayers have called the public participation process “a waste of time”, arguing that the lease of the site had been inevitable.
The construction value of this site could be as high as R600 million. Based on the City’s in-house valuation, the market rental value of this property, comprising a gravelled parking area site of 7 385 m² in size,
is estimated to be either an upfront payment of R100 million (excluding VAT) or a monthly rental of R750 000 (excluding VAT). This rental is valid for a proposed lease term of 25 years, with an escalation of 8 percent a year
The City’s executive deputy mayor, Ian Neilson, said: “Importantly, the City will retain ownership of this site as a strategic asset. It is situated in a desirable location near the retail hub of Green Point with good access to public transport. It is considered suitable for retail and commercial development.
“For many years, we have worked in a dedicated and creative manner to come up with options that will enhance the financial sustainability of the stadium precinct by encouraging greater public usage. We believe that this proposal contains the appropriate development mix.”
The City said they had engaged extensively with members of the public during the public participation process.
Mr Neilson added: “It is foreseen that the tender for this development will be issued in June. It will be in line with our efforts to leverage City-owned assets to unlock investment and economic opportunities, while at the same time requiring the private sector to help us to invest in and to maintain public infrastructure.”
Luke Stevens, speaking on behalf of the Green Point Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association, said the City hadn’t taken any of their comments into account. “My view is why would people go there when the V&A is in walking distance? I don’t think they listened to any aspects of our comments. There was a long public participation charade that went on for two years. They (the City) have been dishonest the whole time.”
He said the main concern among residents in the area were related to traffic, which would likely increase with a new development. Mr Stevens emphasised that he wasn’t against commercial development in general, but did object to how the process had been handled. “It is a case of placing a development where there is public space. Public space is very much needed as the population grows. There is also a shortage of playing fields in the area.”
Mr Stevens added that while new economic opportunities were being created, those who would need to benefit from them, did not live nearby. “You are creating economic opportunities near the city centre but not reflecting it with affordable housing. It is perpetuating that spatial inequality.”
Len Swimmer, of the Greater Cape Town Civic Alliance, said the City of Cape Town, under Mayor Patricia de Lille, had “perfected a centralised decision making system, ironically calling it a democratic process which is supposed to be public participation”.
“But the pre-ordained and corporate desired outcome is arrived at in the long run. The only caveat to this is that it can be overturned through legal process; as the City constantly says, ‘if you don’t like it take us to court’. So unless you have serious financial backing you cannot play this game.”
Mr Swimmer added that instead of the anticipated 14 to 16 storey building to be constructed on this valuable space there should be at least three soccer fields and schools for the surrounding community.
“But if a concrete structure is to be built here, it should be appropriate in size and with underground parking extending into the vast wasted space of the stadium. In fact, if sanity were to prevail and a genuine cost saving desired, then the stadium should be imploded and the enormous monthly costs to the City would cease.”
Mr Swimmer said the City had already made up its mind. “Like a massive corporation it has decided the end result before it began any public participation process. This sort of sham process has gone on for the past few years.”