Durban - Ambitious plans to transform Durban’s skyline and increase the city’s rate base are at an advanced stage, with R62 billion being pumped into the inner-city rejuvenation project.
The bold plans were showcased at a business breakfast meeting held in Durban last week.
The project, which is a partnership between eThekwini municipality and private businesses, will see the Old Drive-in, Rivertown Precinct and beachfront promenade drastically changed.
The aim is to move Durban closer towards its vision of being the most liveable and caring city by 2030, as well as to transform the CBD into a place where residents can live, invest, work and play.
The area from City Hall to the beach will see investments worth R36bn from private investment and a further R16bn investment in the area between City Hall and the Warwick Market area.
Among the projects within the inner-city regeneration scheme, include a R400 million investment in the 750m extension of the promenade, which is already 75% complete.
The city will also invest R240m to upgrade the water mains in the Mahatma Gandhi Road precinct, and a contractor is to be named shortly.
A retail mall and residential flats, worth R2.8bn which will be invested by the developer, is also in the pipeline.
According to the city, the mall project will be launched in November and, once completed, will add R200m annually to the rates income of the municipality.
Rivertown Development is ready to proceed with a city investment of R44m, while the city’s R2bn investment will be allocated to the Centrum site (Durban’s Old Drive-in).
The plan is to turn the site into a mixed-use development including an underground car park, and will take eight years to complete.
EThekwini acting mayor Fawzia Peer said that like many cities around the world, Durban had many challenges including inner-city degeneration, crime and grime.
“But this time, business and government have come together to innovate and set aside differences to see how our inner-city can thrive. There are great opportunities,” she said.
Peer said that in the process, thousands of job opportunities and social housing units would be created.
“With a growing port and passenger cruise market, new student villages within the central business district and an expanding well-supported informal economy, the inner city is being revived.
“The reality is that while some see it as a place of problems, others see it as a place of opportunities,” she said.
Head of catalytic projects George Mohlakoana, speaking on behalf of deputy city manager for economic development and planning Phillip Sithole, said the projects would transform the inner-city.
“We’ve created different priority zones within the city, to deal with the challenges they pose. The different components of the regeneration plan deals with issues such as road networks, water leaks, street lighting, cleanliness and drugs,” he said.