After 11 years of processes and planning, the Werdmuller Centre redevelopment in Claremont Main Road is expected to kick in within a year. The company’s CEO, Mike Nixon, says: “We now feel like it is about time to give birth to this baby we have been pregnant with for 10 years now. “It has been a long and challenging process, but at the end of the day implementation has to take place. “We are in the final stages of the application and we will start with this project by early next year.”He says the community should not be concerned about this multimillion rand project, as everything will go according to procedure and it will be to the benefit of the community. This is in response to the opposition to the project being circulated on social media.The posts on various community Facebook pages state that the centre is one of the last standing old buildings that carry the heritage of Claremont.He says the project has been dragging on for years because the company took into account what was at stake and wanted to follow all the right procedures. He says they have now reached the point where the plan is subject to approval by local authorities, including Heritage Western Cape and the City of Cape Town. Nixon says once Heritage Western Cape has approved their application they will pursue City approval and start planning public engagements. He says that in addition to improving the face of Claremont, they are looking at expanding job opportunities. Nixon says during the construction period, about 500 jobs, skilled and unskilled, will be created while upon completion they expect to see the number of retail and administrative staff growing by 200 new jobs. According to him, this will be a mixed-use development, comprising a retail centre, residential units, entertainment, as well as sufficient parking space. “This is a large development in Claremont and the plan will be completely different and will provide a much-needed new feel in the CBD. “We hope people understand that the site of the centre is no longer desirable; it does not help in adding value to our economy, and changing it is our focal point. We want to be part of improving our local business value,” says Nixon.Abdul Kerbelker, chairperson of the Claremont Improvement District Company, says: “The CIDC is fully supportive of the redevelopment of Werdmuller Centre.”This development follows that of the Claremont Shoprite, which started in November last year.Mayco member for transport and urban development, Brett Herron, says according to the City’s Development Application Management System (Dams), no applications for the redevelopment or demolition have been submitted. He says for any complete demolition, a structural engineer would need to be appointed to supervise the site works. “Furthermore, the contractor, who would be responsible for the demolition work, would be required to erect boarding around the property and also appoint a safety officer to monitor the process on a daily basis,” Herron says.