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WANTED: Tenants for 12 prime beachfront properties. Unused. Fair rental. Minimal red tape.
That’s the new type of ad city bosses will now punt after admitting they bungled the process of putting the buildings that were erected as part of the 2010 soccer World Cup to their intended use.
Almost three years on, the 12 buildings are still standing empty, a costly lesson for the eThekwini Municipality.
Having received no response to its adverts last year putting the properties out for public tender, city officials will now approach prospective tenants directly to clinch some deals. It is hoped the buildings would be used for restaurants, kiosks, retail and coffee shops, that could add R1 000 to around R67 000 a month per outlet to city coffers, an exco report tabled this week revealed.
The properties could generate a monthly income of an estimated R266 332, the report outlined. This would more than offset the R64 000 a month the city was paying to clean and secure the empty buildings.
The report says no large retail property owner followed the public tender route for the tenanting of retail space, “because tenant mix is never left to chance”. It adds that experienced restaurateurs were not accustomed to the tender process and considered the process “unengaging and complex”.
City manager Sbu Sithole admitted there had been “hindrances” in letting out the properties.
“Let us now look for people who will lease the properties,” he said at this week’s exco meeting.
Deputy mayor Nomvuzo Shabalala, who also chairs the city’s economic development and planning committee, said the matter should be referred back to her committee for discussion.
The DA’s Tex Collins asked why it had taken the city so long to reach this point. “These buildings have cost the city an arm and a leg,” he said.
Patrick Pillay, of the MF, said before the city demolished the old buildings to make way for the new ones, its officials should have thought about conducting a survey to see if the development would work.
Pillay said since the issue was referred back to the economic development and planning committee, this meant there would be about a month’s delay before the matter came before full council as committees would only be meeting again next month.