Tourism hub battles to attract tenants

2015-04-30 14:30
PHOTO: file

The Freedom Square Tourism Hub loses about R20?000 a month in rent as it struggles to find suitable tenants.

PHOTO: file The Freedom Square Tourism Hub loses about R20?000 a month in rent as it struggles to find suitable tenants.

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THE Msunduzi Municipality is struggling to attract suitable tenants to occupy vacant spaces at the Freedom Square Tourism Hub.

This was noted at today’s Executive Committee (Exco) council meeting at the City Hall.

The Tourism Hub houses Msunduzi Pietermaritzburg Tourism Association (MPTA) offices and 90% of the offices at the hub accommodate external tenants.

The building has three levels - ground floor accommodates Gijima printers, UMgungundlovu FM community radio station, caretaker and ICT offices, Coconut Grove restaurant and two vacant spaces. For Coconut Grove, the lease agreement is in place, but the area has not yet been occupied, the report on the Tourism Hub building tenancy states.

The first floor accommodates Xolisizwe Trading, the Msunduzi Tourism business unit and two vacant offices. The second floor is dedicated to the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) and accommodates 10 office spaces which cost R75 per m2.

For the vacant spaces, the municipality loses about R20 000 on rent a month. Municipal manager Mxolisi Nkosi said there is no rent charge for office space occupied by the Msunduzi business units.

The report further states that there is no lease agreement signed between the UMgungundlovu radio station and the municipality however, the space has been occupied. Deputy municipal manager for economic development Dr Ray Ngcobo said that instead of paying rent, the radio station airs a municipal radio slot aimed at disseminating information and marketing municipal services and projects. Ngcobo said the airtime which the radio station gives the municipality is equivalent to rent.

“We are in a process of signing a lease so that we use the airtime to market municipal programmes, mayoral and departmental activities,” said Ngcobo.

Councillor Eunice Majola urged Exco to fast-track the process of filling vacant office spaces.

The tourism hub received criticism for not having adequate parking space for visitors as most of the parking is reserved for staff and tenants.

The hub reportedly cost more than R25 million due to glitches which halted the construction process. The hub was launched in 2011, funded by the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs and was built to boost tourism

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