Visitors stream back

2016-01-19 10:41
The transformation of the Muizenberg beachfront has been down to strategic redevelopment and getting rid of rundown buildings.

The transformation of the Muizenberg beachfront has been down to strategic redevelopment and getting rid of rundown buildings. (Nicole Mccain)

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Ten years ago the Muizenberg beachfront was a “no-go” area, but today it is a booming hub.
With the last development along the stretch – housing a surf school, coffee shop and two restaurants – open from December, the strategic redevelopment of the area is one of the reasons visitors flock to the area.
Steven Frankel, developer and chairperson of the Muizenberg Improvement District (MID), believes a surge in business confidence has made the area more desirable for property owners and developers.
“Brands want to be here now. People want to be here and so businesses want to be here. It’s key to keep up this momentum,” he says.
Growing up in the area, Frankel remembers the time when Muizenberg was considered Cape Town’s top holiday destination.
“It was the Camps Bay of Cape Town. There was a reason why people came here then and we realised there must be something we can do to bring the spark back.”
A decade ago, most of the buildings along the beachfront were rundown and many were occupied illegally. Because of the high level of crime the beach had long lost its appeal, explains MID deputy chairperson, Lesley Schroeder.
Tackling the overcrowding and related crime was key to revitalising the area and bringing back development, Schroeder says.
“The upgrading and redevelopment of the strip has had a major influence, bringing in a well-balanced mix of offerings. This, coupled with the recent upgrade of Surfer’s Corner, has significantly improved the overall appeal of Muizenberg beach. Today our biggest challenge is finding parking solutions for the 12 000 cars that flow in and out on busy weekends and the thorny issue of informal car guarding,” she says.
Frankel believes the future of the beachfront lies in partnering with the council to provide top-notch amenities to cater for the increasing number of visitors, as well as providing a controlled parking area so “people can feel safe and secure”.
Additional safety is provided by MID, says public safety director Hugo Coetzee. This includes car patrols along the beachfront and foot patrols on the beach during the holiday season.
“The future is looking very positive. Muizenberg beach is first and foremost about surfing. Everything else complements that. That said, the MID does not intend to sit back and take a breather – the key is to keep working to maintain a quality and safe visitor experience. We want Muizenberg to be a world-class destination.”

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