Concerns raised over Pretoria CBD Rejuvenation plan

Posted On Wednesday, 24 April 2013 07:00 Published by Commercial Property News
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In a move dubbed Operation Reclaim, the Tshwane Metro Council has identified the revitalisation of the Pretoria city centre as one of its key focus areas for spurring economic activity through transforming the city into an attractive destination for business, residents and visitors alike.

It hopes to achieve this through a number of planned moves, including rolling out extensive public transport services – with BRT buses being the core focus – and the beautification of the area. As part of the beautification process, it plans to pedestrianise a number of streets, which will close them off to cars and create a more "walkable" city.

Guy BriggsBut a number of organisations with operations based in the Pretoria CBD have raised concerns over the practical implementation of Operation Reclaim. The list – represented by consultant Guy Briggs – includes the Reserve Bank, the Tshwane Chamber of Commerce and Industries and the State Theatre.

Collectively, these organisations are worried that the pedestrianisation of certain identified access routes to their premises could impede on their ability to conduct business as effectively as they can at present. Naturally, this would have the opposite of the Tshwane Metro Council's desired effect, which is to attract business to the CBD instead of chase it away.

Another point of concern is that through the pedestrianisation of these streets, a number of on-street parking bays would be lost. In the case of the State Theatre, the exit from an underground parking lot would also be hampered by closing off Sisulu (previous Prinsloo) Street.

Revitalisation
According to Briggs, the organisations that he represents support the Operation Reclaim concept and believe that through working together with the Council the plan can be altered to benefit all stakeholders. He added that the city could be turned into an attractive destination through the development of a comprehensive events management strategy similar to those employed in Cape Town and Durban.

Hosting festivals, music concerts and other cultural events could play a significant role in achieving this goal, as well as the identification and allocation of areas in the CBD to street performers, informal market traders and more. A focus should also be placed on attracting retail to the area. Coffee shops and restaurants line the streets of modern cosmopolitan cities the world over, and whilst Pretoria will have to develop its own unique offering, these play an important role in creating the vibrancy and foot traffic necessary for a thriving city centre.

Overall, the steps being taken by the Tshwane Metro Council in the form of Project Reclaim are positive and it is encouraging that the motivation exists to implement change. With Galetti's recent inauguration of a Pretoria office, we're excited about the prospects of commercial and retail property in the Pretoria CBD. Much like with the revival of Cape Town's CBD, there exists much potential for business looking to move to or relocate within the area.

Source: Galetti

Last modified on Monday, 20 May 2013 11:28

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