Cape Town - Covid-19 has caused project delays and contract cancellations in the construction and property development industry, resulting in widespread job losses and retrenchments, but some developments in Cape Town are bucking the trend.
Premier Alan Winde accompanied by senior Wesgro officials including chief executive Tim Harris, last week paid a site visit to the R16 billion mixed-use development, Harbour Arch, where they met with the Amdec property investment and development group’s chief executive James Wilson, whose firm is responsible for the project.
Wilson said: “Our decision to forge ahead with the development under current conditions is a real statement that demonstrates our confidence in this country and that we believe in the long-term future and economic viability of South Africa.
”Current levels of poverty and unemployment are excessive and unacceptable, so it is vital that the public and private sectors work together much more closely and create employment opportunities to alleviate this.”
Harbour Arch will see the redevelopment of the 5.8 hectare Culemborg site on the north-eastern edge of the Cape Town CBD into a large-scale, mixed-use development comprising six individual towers.
With close to 200 000m2 of usable space, the precinct will accommodate residential apartments, commercial office space, hotels, shops, restaurants, motor dealerships, an urban park, and more.
Wilson said that Harbour Arch hoped to provide in the region of 20 000 construction jobs over the next 10 years, varying from labour opportunities through to highly skilled artisans and project managers.
Winde said the development would contribute significantly to the region’s post-Covid-19 economic recovery plan.
“Harbour Arch is a flagship investment in the City of Cape Town, and will contribute in an important way to job-creation at a time when our province desperately needs it.”
Meanwhile, in an interview with the Argus, the Western Cape Property Development Forum’s (WCPDF) chairperson, Deon van Zyl, said the shortest route to economic stimulation and job-creation lay in municipalities developing a system that could work swiftly and fairly in getting catalytic projects approved in the shortest time possible, while never compromising on the integrity of the projects.
Van Zyl spoke of an example of this glimpsed at the WCPDF’s recent conference, where a presentation from eThekwini municipality got people talking.
“The catalytic projects office within eThekwini municipality also proves that when you provide and trust qualified, knowledgeable individuals with the power to make decisions, you can break down departmental silos and make a positive difference.”