EXCLUSIVE: Ratanga Junction to close in May 2018
Cape Town - Ratanga Junction will officially close its doors in eight months.
This was confirmed on Tuesday by the Rabie Property Group which stated that the Western Cape's biggest theme park will close on May 1, 2018 for redevelopment into a “vibrant mixed-use precinct”.
Although planning is still at an embryonic stage, Rabie director John Chapman, said he envisaged that the redevelopment would “embrace the existing canals, island, and public open space, and include residential apartments, offices, hotels, restaurants and convenience retail”.
He also said the closure of Ratanga and the redevelopment of the land had been in the offing for a long time.
In June last year, the Rabie group - which bought Ratanga in 2005 - responded to widespread speculation that the theme park was closing, by saying that although this was true, the closure was not imminent and would depend on when the land was required for redevelopment.
Although it said the exact date was “impossible to predict accurately”, it estimated that it would happen within two to four years from then.
The official closing date means that the shorter time period estimate was the most realistic.
According to Chapman, the scale of the theme park had been greatly over-designed for the Cape Town market.
"The oversized facility, lack of consistent demand for a theme park, seasonal weather, expensive maintenance and running costs, as well as the ageing equipment, had all contributed to an unprofitable facility when we acquired it.
"Since then we have downsized the operation, closed the park during off season, added an all-year round conference facility, and managed the theme park so that it now washes itself. However, this is not sufficient to justify its continued existence because rides need to be renewed and revenue cannot support the high capital costs."
Full story in Wednesday's Cape Argus