All roads lead to Foreshore

2016-04-26 06:00

Three decades after the Foreshore’s growth spurt, a new surge of development is changing the face of the CBD’s “gateway”.

A recent report released by the Cape Town Central City Improvement District (CCID), titled ‘The State of the Cape Town Central City Report: 2015 in review’, stated that since 2012 around R7bn of development has either been planned, is currently underway or has been completed in the foreshore.

Built on land reclaimed from the sea in the 1930s, the Foreshore first saw large-scale development between the ’60s and ’80s, with the construction of the Media24 building, Absa Centre, Artscape and the Civic Centre.

In 2003, the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) was completed.

Since 2012, 10 upgrades and developments have been completed, with construction still to be completed on the Radisson Blu Hotel, the CTICC, KPMG Place, the new Christian Barnard Hospital and Artscape.

The Foreshore was, for many years, very much the “unloved” side of the CBD, says Carola Koblitz, CCID communications manager and author of the report.

“Because of the freeways that run through it and the vast tracts of land used for open-air parking lots, it was both unattractive and generally underused. Plus it literally – for many years – lay far from what was then the heart of the rest of the CBD.”

However, as the CBD has expanded and as demand for development has increased, developers have looked to this underutilised space. “It is one of the few areas in the CBD that offer “greenfields”, where contemporary developments can be built. As beautiful as the rest of the CBD is, a great deal of it falls within the Heritage conservation area and with that comes restrictions on building new developments,” she says.

The development of the foreshore is natural progression, says Ian Neilson, the City of Cape Town’s Deputy Mayor.

“It is a logical area for the expansion of the CBD of Cape Town as a result of, among others, the nature of the existing businesses in the foreshore and the location of the foreshore, to which all major roads lead. It is also close to the harbour, Central Train Station and Central Taxi Rank. Cape Town is also seen as an entry point to other African destinations,” he says.

Certain large-scale catalytic investments have unlocked opportunities, Neilson believes, including the establishment of the City’s MyCiTi Central Cape Town Station and other central route infrastructure investments as well as the major expansion of the Cape Town Convention Centre.

Development on the foreshore brings with it new companies and more job opportunities, as well as new facilities like the CTICC and the new Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital, says Koblitz.

And the knock-on effect of these developments is huge, Nielson says. “The development of the Foreshore will increase the City rates base, thereby increasing service delivery and maintaining the already high levels of service provision. This is important as the economic situation in South Africa is worsening and the National Government grants to municipalities are decreasing. Own-generated income sources are vital to meet the demands of a growing city.”

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