During the feasibility stage, the city found that about 62 000 pedestrians a day use the underground concourse instead of crossing the busy Strand and Adderley streets.
Assets and facilities management mayoral committee member Stuart Diamond said the space being used as a municipal hub of offices and pay points will not affect the pedestrian walkway.
The refit of the 1 752 m2 space, which began in September and is nearing completion, will provide an overflow of office space from the Civic Centre.
The refit will include two community courts, municipal pay points, a centre management office and offices to accommodate the city’s departments of social development, building development management and environmental management. For security reasons, the concourse will be closed between 10pm and 6am daily.
“Thousands of residents make their way to the city centre on a daily basis and many previously made use of the concourse as a thoroughfare.
“It therefore makes perfect sense to have municipal services available within easy reach by taking services closer to our residents,” said Diamond.
“I am sure that once the revamp has been completed the pedestrians will be back in their numbers to make use of this public space again, which will be a lot more comfortable than it was before.”
The six escalators have been replaced and new street-level escalator landings to provide easy access for pedestrians have been constructed; floors have been re-tiled; new shop fronts, lighting and an electrical reticulation system have been fitted, and health and safety requirements have been met.
Besides maximising commercial and office space, construction took place on: a banking court to cater for ATMS of all the major banks; a municipal court with holding cells and new ablution facilities.
Pillars have been cladded, building control systems and new roller shutter doors at all the entrances have been installed and the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system have all been upgraded, said Diamond.