It’s business all day for Bree Street

2016-06-07 06:00
 Bree Street’s bustling economy may be the first in the CBD to run 24 hours.  PHOTO: nicole mccain

Bree Street’s bustling economy may be the first in the CBD to run 24 hours. PHOTO: nicole mccain

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The street that never sleeps may be the future for Bree Street.

This as the street becomes “quite possibly the first street in town that is starting to mimic and move towards a true 24-hour economy”, Cape Town Central City Improvement District (CCID) communications manager Carola Koblitz said at a recent business breakfast.

“We’re seeing an ever strengthening nighttime economy overall in the CBD, and in areas like Long Street we’ve certainly had a late-night economy for some time now. But Bree Street is – firstly – a true 08:00 to 17:00 commercial and retail economy with businesses and shops that cater to markets across a broad spectrum,” she says.

“We’ve also seen the rise here of after work venues, where people can have a quick drink or tapas before they head home. Then over the past year we’ve really seen the rise of the dinner crowd with restaurants that cater to an earlier and often more mature clientele than your comparatively young Long Street party crowd, and who tend to bridge the time gap between 19:00 and 22:00.”

And there is a large amount of residential and accommodation property in – and being developed along – Bree Street.

Although the CCID is unable to determine the economic value the bustling Bree Street adds to the CBD, there are a number of other knock-on effects, Kobiltz says.

“What we are seeing are the numbers of patrons that are flocking to the venues along Bree Street both day and night, and along its entire length. You can now drive down this street on almost any night of the week and see people inside venues and a large number of cars parked in the road. A few years ago, there was almost no nighttime presence, particularly along lower Bree,” she says.

And the activity is slowly starting to spread, Kobiltz believes.

“A few months ago, my colleagues and I at the CCID were talking about streets like Loop ‘becoming the new Bree’. Just by referring to Bree Street in that way acknowledges that it has definitely revived and become an entity in its own right with its own identity. But it also acknowledges that the venues in close proximity are starting to evolve in the same way Bree Street has, with a ‘watch this space’ excitement in the air.”

Over the past year, the CCID has recorded shops and eateries opening along Bree at the rate of one a month, and now the streets that lie in close proximity to it are starting to redevelop as well in exciting new ways, Koblitz says.

“Definitely, Bree seems to be experiencing more movement in this regard, bearing in mind that new venues open – or change – occupancy much slower than the traditionally popular nodes such as St Georges Mall, Adderley Street or Long Street. We’ve seen venues along Bree, which have been standing empty for some time, now being occupied, for example – some for the first time in years!”

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