Cape Town CBD and decentralised retail

Posted On Wednesday, 02 May 2001 03:01 Published by
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The gloves are off - Cape Town's CBD is not going to take the outflow of retailers lying down. But what are the "odds" in the current retail and commercial property heavyweight bout?

The gloves are off - Cape Town's CBD is not going to take the outflow of retailers lying down. But what are the "odds" in the current retail and commercial property heavyweight bout?
The Cape Town Partnership notwithstanding, the CBD has been taking a beating - first with the opening of the northern suburbs' Tyger Valley node years ago, followed more recently by the Main Road spine revival in the Claremont area, and very recently, a serious uppercut with Century City going online.
Retail consultant Pat Flanagan says Century City as a whole has the location and potential to become Cape Town's next commercial CBD in 15 years. Rode economist Khalid Mohamed echoes this sentiment. He even points out some "in-fighting" - Century City is posing a major threat to the Tyger Valley-Durbanville node.
"In fact, quarter 2001:1 actually saw an increase in prime office cap rates in decentralised Cape Town, especially Tyger Valley, Claremont and the Bellville CBD. The Cape Town CBD has been facing competition for quite some time from the decentralsied office nodes, so the CBD will experience an exodus."
He believes though that this is an ongoing exodus - instead of moving from the CBD to Tyger Valley, Bellville, Claremont (and maybe even Kenilworth eventually), tenants are now taking up office space in Century City.
But enough is enough, says Cape Town Partnership Michael Farr, in the wake of the planned formation of a CBD Retailer Association. After four previous attempts to get a retailers' association going, "this time it's for real," he said to Cape Business News.
To position Cape Town even better internationally, the Partnership, the Unicity, Wesgro and other tourism authorities are coming together in Team Cape Town to try and position it alongside such cities as Rio, Melbourne and Vancouver. The Team will also try to achieve the ranking of "preferred city to do business in", according to the Arthur Anderson model, which measures quality of workforce, business environment and the cost of doing business.
The Partnership's effort to brand and market the city includes a plan to promote the city as a prime retail destination with increased involvement for the small-business sector and the right mix of tenants. Hence the establishment of the Central City Improvement District. The retailers' association will have as one of its first priorities the compilation of a comprehensive database containing details of all retail facilities in the central city.
This information is important for informing our marketing and branding exercise, as it will help the city identify those assets which differentiate Cape Town from other SA cities, says Farr. Further, the association will promote trade in the central city, as well as small business growth and the improvement of the retail product offering in the CBD.

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