Cape Town -
The City of Cape Town is concerned about the “serious” deterioration of the Good Hope Centre and is to consider on Wednesday what role it should play in the landmark’s future.
A detailed report on the status, maintenance issues and way forward for the city and the centre is to be considered at the meeting of the tourism and events portfolio committee.
The report is a response to a motion, tabled by councillor James Vos, calling for a strategy for the venue, designed in 1976 and built in the early 1980s.
“It is used relatively frequently by organisations and community groups,” said Vos. “However, it is in a state of disrepair, and high maintenance costs are an increasing burden.”
Despite these challenges, Vos said, the structure appeared to be sound, and major upgrades were being planned for the roof, the lifts and the ramp.
In 2012, the city noted that millions had been spent on repairs. It cost the city about R5 million in 2008 to repair the roof.
Rising maintenance costs have led to calls for the building to be demolished. There has also been a proposal to build several storeys on top of the structure through a partnership with a private developer.
Vos said the city’s World Design Capital department hosted a workshop in November to consider proposals for the centre’s use.
The workshop was attended by representatives of the World Design Capital team, the Cape Town Partnership, the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC), the Cape Chamber of Commerce and a number of users.
Participants heard that the centre is booked for more than 150 days a year and hosts events that include the Hip Hop Indaba, the Spring Queen pageant, registration for the Discovery Cape Times Big Walk and Cape Argus Pick n Pay Momentum Cycle Tour expo, the Cycle Tour Expo, and gospel concerts.
The workshop concluded that the potential of the Good Hope Centre as a key social asset had not been fully realised.
Designed almost 40 years ago by Italian architect Pier Luigi Nervi, the centre is no longer seen as “the place to go” for all communities wanting to host important events.
One of the workshop’s findings was that the centre could not compete with the CTICC and GrandWest.
Events have opted for these venues, which offered better parking and cleaner or more modern facilities. Participants said problems included the dated infrastructure and decor, the deteriorating interior and appearance of the exterior, and the huge maintenance costs.
All these have added to the perception that the centre is rundown and no longer suitable for large events. Also, the area around the centre was not seen as inviting or safe.
The workshop considered alternatives for the centre, including the building of a rooftop café or a vertical farm, viewing areas or a sky bar and student accommodation on the periphery.