Western Cape Business News

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DEVELOPMENT: Mixed Use Development For Athlone Power Station


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After 22 months of investigations, studies, statistical and financial analyses, as well as a public participation process, the Cape Town City’s Spatial Planning and Urban Design Department has finalised the pre-feasibility study into the redevelopment of the 36 hectare Athlone Power Station site.

The Department yesterday presented the findings of the study to the Utility Services Portfolio Committee and today it will be presented to the Planning and Environmental Portfolio Committee (PEPCO). PEPCO will consider the recommendations in order for the next phase of the study to commence.

The pre-feasibility study determined that development of the site is financially viable, and that a mixed-use type of development will be the most suitable and financially sustainable option.

The Athlone Power Station was partially decommissioned in 2003 due to high generation and maintenance costs. No power has been generated on site since then, but the facility still houses equipment used for the transmission of electricity.

As land is scarce in Cape Town and it was believed that the site may be a prime site for re-development, the City’s Spatial Planning and Urban Design Department were tasked with investigating the possibility of re-developing the site. The study was funded by National Treasury’s Neighbourhood Development Partnership Grant. Following the approval of the recommendation to proceed with the next phase of planning for the site, the City will apply to Treasury for the remainder of the allocated technical assistance grant.

A significant part of the pre-feasibility study entailed creating different types of scenarios for redevelopment of the 36 hectare site (which is the size of approximately 39 adjacent rugby fields), these ranged from no development at all, to complete redevelopment of the site.

The Project Team’s analysis identified a mixed-use development with the following landuse breakdown as the preferred scenario:

·         Residential - 22.2%

·         Commercial or business - 30%

·         Retail - 12.3%

·         Public institutions - 21.5%

·         Light industry - 7.4%

·         Athlone Refuse Transfer Station - 6.6%

It is important to note that the preferred scenario and proposed landuse breakdown is not final and may change significantly during the further planning phases of the project. This breakdown will serve as a guideline in the further planning phases of the project.

The historical red brick buildings are to be retained where possible for predominantly public usage, such as a cultural centre. The existing electricity and waste water infrastructure will also be retained. Provision is to be made to link the site to future IRT routes and there is potential for a Rail Station on the site.

Financial analysis of the preferred development scenario indicated that the project is financially viable and should prove attractive to the development sector.

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