V&A crafters eager for new quarters

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Copy of ct Craft Market 6891~1 Independent Newspapers NOW YOU SEE IT: Tourists browse at the temporary marquee for The Craft Market at the V&A Waterfront. Pictures: Jeffrey Abrahams

The multimillion-rand redevelopments at the V&A Waterfront have caused temporary disruptions and upheaval for some traders – with some claiming to have lost up to 80 percent of their usual sales.

As the cranes moved in on a number of sites at the Waterfront, traders at The Craft Market have been moved to a temporary marquee for six months.

While some traders have been upbeat about the upgrade, others are unhappy with the new location and say they have been losing more than half – and in some cases 80 percent – of their sales as tourists can’t find their new location.

They have also taken issue with the fact that they have been charged the same rent for smaller spaces in the marquee, situated a few metres behind the old craft market.

They are also not sure they will be given a spot in the revamped market.

The R50 million upgrade of the craft market is expected to be completed in June and will be known as the Blue Shed.

A trader, who has been at the craft market for eight years, said: “Everyone is aware of the situation. The location is sometimes difficult for people to find but I would expect that.

WAITING GAME

“We have been waiting for so long for the Blue Shed to be developed, so moving here was an option. You could either stay home until the development was complete or come and trade so long. It’s not easy, but we have to wait.”

Another trader said: “The drop in sales is not good. I am losing about 80 percent of my business, but I think it will be a good improvement…”

Wendy Coetzee, a trader at the craft market for the past 20 years, said: “We really needed change. The old building was a health risk with the asbestos sides. We were prepared for this and told in advance, so we just have to live with it.”

“A lot of people get negative too quickly, but we must see the positive in this. The new building will be a very big tourist attraction. They are combining the red and the blue sheds, so we will be an innovative hub for Cape Town,” Coetzee said.

David Green, chief executive office of the Waterfront, said traders had been included in discussions about the changes.

“This is a dynamic retail environment. With the investment offered by our shareholders into development, we are able to evolve our retail offering as the market changes and trends emerge,” he said.

“One such example is the changing vision for the Blue Shed Craft Market and Wellness Centre.

“We needed to accommodate traders to allow business to continue during what is a major redevelopment of the current space. The solution was the semi-permanent, air-conditioned structure we erected on North Wharf at significant cost to the V&A.

“We invested heavily in way-finding signage on and around the current Blue Shed.

“From January to March, we see a natural and expected drop in footfall and retail sales after the hype of the festive season.”

Green said the new craft market would be more than twice the size of the temporary space.

“Existing tenants will be given preference provided they meet the new criteria. All tenants will need to reapply, and have been made aware of the selection process and criteria,” said Green.

Development is also underway at the Silo District, which will become the home of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa. The V&A Waterfront has committed R500m to the redevelopment. The Two Oceans Aquarium is also being expanded.

Cape Times


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