CAPE TOWN: forging a new relationship between city and port

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1 CAPE TOWN: forging a new relationship between city and port The redevelopment of Cape Town's Victoria & Alfred waterfront is one of those well-known examples frequently mentioned in port-city literature, in the same way as Sydney's Darling or the Inner Harbour in Baltimore. It is an ambitious project, aimed at giving the port greater visibility and highlighting the site as a valuable asset: a working waterfront where urban functions co-exist side by side with ship repair activities, recreational boating and fishing. The project entered a new phase in October 2013 with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the City and Port, as participants in the Post Conference organised by AIVP in Cape Town in November 2014 will be aware. Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, a new living space Towards the end of the 1980s, a decision was taken to redevelop a 123 hectare site around the Victoria and Alfred dock basins, the historic port being underused since most of the commercial port activities had been relocated to the Duncan and Ben Schoeman basins further east. The authorities were keen not just to develop a mixture of facilities at the heart of the city, but also to preserve the location's maritime heritage and authentic character. By keeping certain port activities there, that dual objective could be satisfied while also meeting the needs of the port and a section of its users. Victoria & Alfred Waterfront AIVP - The worldwide network of Port Cities 1

2 Victoria & Alfred Waterfront In 2006, Transnet, the national body responsible for running South Africa's ports, decided to refocus on its core business and sell the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront to Dubai World and a group called London & Regional Properties. Since March 2011, the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront has been back in South African ownership, having been bought by Growthpoint, the largest real estate group in South Africa, and the government pension fund Public Investment Corporation. Although the project was an essentially private operation, considerable importance was initially accorded to the public spaces, with the strategic message "the spaces are more important than the buildings themselves" coming to represent something of a slogan. AIVP AIVP - The worldwide network of Port Cities 2

3 Over 23 years later, some 17,500 people are now employed at the working waterfront where ship repair activities, a few naval vessels, a fleet of fishing vessels and yachts of all sizes coexist alongside 450 shops, 80 restaurants and cafés, nearly 200 offices, 11 hotels with 1500 rooms, 570 apartments, and leisure amenities such as the maritime museum and aquarium. This mix of activities was identified as a priority right from the initial design stage, and remains the distinctive hallmark of this exemplary project. A host of sporting and cultural events are also held at the site, most recently in 2014 with the Cape Town World Design Capital and a stage of the Volvo Ocean Race in November. Volvo Ocean Race, Cape Town AIVP Land uses, master plan Victoria & Alfred Waterfront According to the latest figures from V&A Waterfront Ltd, it is also South Africa's most popular destination with 23 million visitors annually (55% of them residents of Cape Town and the surrounding region). The waterfront has contributed over 15 billion euros to South Africa's GDP over the last decade ( ), while its impact on the local and regional economy over the same period has been equally striking: over 62% of spending by tourists visiting the Western Cape region in 2011 was in Cape Town itself; real estate prices have risen by 23% within a radius of 1.5 km, etc. By 2023, estimates for new developments suggest a contribution of 2.1 billion euros to GDP with 16,000 additional direct jobs created. AIVP - The worldwide network of Port Cities 3

4 Victoria & Alfred Waterfront The initial commitment to preserving local heritage and building on the location's distinctive character resulted in over twenty emblematic sites being renovated, some of them over a hundred years old. The latest example is the Watershed, a former warehouse converted by Wolff Architects into a craft market and an exhibition hall, which the Post Conference delegates were able to visit shortly after its inauguration. Watershed warehouse Victoria & Alfred Waterfront AIVP - The worldwide network of Port Cities 4

5 Watershed area Victoria & Alfred Waterfront Watershed Victoria & Alfred Waterfront AIVP AIVP - The worldwide network of Port Cities 5

6 Silo area AIVP The current project for the area around the grain silo, which had not been used since 1990, is particularly symbolic of the strategy focused on preserving the site's specific character: both in terms of the building itself, a listed heritage site seen as an iconic part of the Cape Town skyline, and also the decision to locate the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa at the site, channelling the African identity to promote the project's adoption by the local population and future visitors. The museum's 9500 m2 will be spread across nine floors around a central hall inspired by the shape of a coffee bean and dug into part of the silo's 42 bays. In addition to the exhibition areas, the Heatherwick Studio project also includes educational areas, a bookshop, restaurant, bar, roof sculpture garden, etc. It is due to open in Heatherwick Studio AIVP - The worldwide network of Port Cities 6

7 The silo: work in progress and completed buildings AIVP In this same silo/clock tower area, a number of buildings, mainly offices but also apartments and a 225 room hotel, either have been completed or are due for completion by However, it is in the nearby area that the relationship between the City and the Port of Cape Town is truly set to be revolutionised in the next few years, with the Port Gateway Precinct project. The Port Gateway Precinct project: renewed dialogue... Owing to the diverse range of stakeholders concerned and the various decision-making levels involved national for the port itself operated by Transnet Ltd, regional with the Western Cape Government and Province, and local with the City there have been strategic differences and the process has not always been a smooth one. The Memorandum of Understanding signed in autumn 2013 between Transnet and Mayor of Cape Town, Patricia de Lille, reflected a clear commitment to identifying a shared vision, with the formal creation of a dedicated forum for dialogue (Executive Liaison Structure and Technical Meetings). The ELS will be able to rely on the Strategic Planning Forum, an existing body that brings together Transnet, the City and Province of Western Cape, and which aims to establish priority projects and strategies for their realisation. For the City, this aim is based on an economic development strategy in which the Port has a key part to play. While Cape Town has experienced only modest export growth in recent years, 2013 saw a sharp acceleration with growth of 13%. Most of these exports pass through the port. Rapid population growth in the city and rising prosperity suggest that imports are also likely to grow in the future. A redeveloped, efficient port is therefore an important component of the city's economic positioning as the gateway to the African market. The Mayor of Cape Town's renewed backing for the development of a cruise terminal at berth E close to the silo/clock tower area - currently being regenerated itself - is another measure intended to support the growth of tourism in the city and its expected impact. AIVP - The worldwide network of Port Cities 7

8 promoting the port's development Of those operated by Transnet, Cape Town is not seen as the country's priority port, but in terms of container traffic with some 708,604 TEUs over the period 2012/2013, it is nonetheless South Africa's second busiest port behind Durban. Thanks to its strategic location, it enjoys global links and handled over 2 MT of non-container goods traffic over the same period. The port currently has infrastructures dedicated to non-container goods that should enable it to absorb growth in this sector in the short-term. However, it is faced with increasing road access issues. These are being addressed by Transnet's commitment to developing rail infrastructures, and also by moves to reconfigure the links between the interface areas between the Port and City (particularly the CBD) and the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront. Transnet The Duncan Dock is currently used for multi-purpose activities including bulk handling, fishing, boating and ship repair, while the Ben Schoeman Dock is mainly dedicated to containers. Its onshore capacities are limited, however, and a number of possible solutions are already being considered to enable it to handle the increasing volume of container traffic who could reach the 25 MT within thirty years (+ 150%). Initially, the Culemborg and Salt River rail yards could be reconfigured to develop an onshore staging area. It could possibly then be extended to the north in the medium-term. Relocating the yacht marina closer to the Silo/Clock Tower area and the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront will also free up space for port activities. Another complementary option would be to re-use the empty spaces beneath the motorway. AIVP - The worldwide network of Port Cities 8

9 Relocating the yacht marina and new links between the port and Culemborg Transnet Development and new links between the port and Culemborg Transnet AIVP - The worldwide network of Port Cities 9

10 Currently Medium Term Transnet and improved integration The Port Gateway Precinct project also reflects the desire to integrate the port and the city more effectively. Port Gateway Precinct Study area City of Cape Town Transnet The Port Gateway project site opens up the possibility of alternatives to the overused and congested road that is currently the main means of accessing the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront and the port. The project will allow new connections between the city, port and waterfront for vehicles and pedestrians, whilst also creating visual links. AIVP - The worldwide network of Port Cities 10

11 During the initial phase (0 to 5 years), the project will involve the development of a cruise terminal at berth E and the spaces around it, as well as vacant spaces along the nearby Duncan Road. Urban amenities and installations (light industries, retail, etc.) will also be created to ensure year-round activity outside the cruise season. Meanwhile, a new road link and an extension to the existing network will provide new points of access to the site. City of Cape Town During the second phase (5-10 years), the extension of the Roggebai canal will serve to create a new public space. It will also form the boundary with the cruise terminal at berth E and the port activities at berth F. Relocating these activities to Culemborg and other sectors will then free up space for new urban developments along Duncan Road, and allow the creation of new pedestrian links and public spaces. City of Cape Town AIVP - The worldwide network of Port Cities 11

12 Phases 3 and 4 will confirm this urban-oriented development approach: - Customs House and warehouses I and J will be converted for use by light industries and shops (3rd phase, years); - Berths B, C and D will be converted for offices, hotels, restaurants, etc. (4th phase: years). City of Cape Town In Cape Town as in many other port cities, the success of this ambitious project, the future of the port itself and its successful integration with the city, are once again dependent on the quality of dialogue between the various stakeholders. A first step has been taken in this direction with the signing of the MOU, which has opened up the possibility of an integrated, joint approach to planning. The next few years are set to prove highly interesting, as the solutions identified are gradually brought to fruition. February 2015 Member of AIVP: Transnet National Port Authority: AIVP - The worldwide network of Port Cities 12

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