Cape Town mayor Dan Plato has launched the Bellville Future City project which aims to transform the area into a second central business district.
Plato said that the Bellville CBD has a different makeup to the current Cape Town CBD, which relies heavily on office workers to generate foot traffic for businesses.
He added that the Bellville has traditionally been a ‘transport funnel’, connecting people to industrial and commercial areas across Cape Town, including nearby industrial nodes.
“The vision of developing Bellville as Cape Town’s second CBD has been discussed for a long time and today, we are taking concrete action,” Plato said.
“We are establishing strategic forums to engage academic institutions, the business sector and civil society, which will assist our short, medium and long-term goals of revitalising the Bellville CBD.”
Plato said that Cape Town continues to experience rapid urbanisation as people relocate to the city in search of opportunities and better lives.
However, he said that Bellville has suffered from a prolonged period of decline which has impacted negatively on the area’s attractiveness as an investment destination.
“A key part of the revitalisation will include the establishment of an innovation district to facilitate increased investment in the knowledge economy, and sharing strategic information related to policy development and planning.
“The second forum will comprise of the business sector, which will assist with the regeneration by directing investment through the Innovation District. The Greater Tygerberg Partnership will be assisting with the implementation of the project, as a city-linked body.”
Plato said that the project will see a greater focus on investment related to land, and the development of public transport.
“Bellville’s diverse land uses have far less reliance on commercial offices, although a number of corporate companies are based in the area such as Sanlam, CIPLA, among others, with a low retail vacancy rate.
“Resulting from this diversified land use, vacancy rates in Bellville CBD, especially among retail, is very low.”
Plato said that other land uses include the cluster of tertiary institutions, previously mentioned nearby industrial nodes, and various public sector services in the health and social services domain.
Due to the nature of this set of circumstances, it makes the Bellville CBD innately resilient to changing economic times, he said.
“By launching the Bellville Future City project, we are taking very important steps in realising the City’s long-term vision for residents, businesses and investors,” he said.