World Cup stadium escapes axe

31 January 2014 - 02:27 By QUINTON MTYALA

The City of Cape Town has voted in favour of a plan it hopes will reverse the fortunes of its struggling 2010 Soccer World Cup stadium.

Potential developments in the precinct around the stadium in Green Point could include hotels, office space, a hospital specialising in sports injuries, coffee shops and a gym. But the first new developments are only likely to see the light of day in 2017, at the earliest.

Since construction was completed at the end of 2009, Cape Town Stadium has cost the city R436- million while its income totals just R92-million. Operating costs are estimated at R144-million a year.

ANC caucus leader Tony Ehrenreich said the city had to be relieved of the financial burden of operating the stadium, adding that commercialisation seemed to be the best option.

"It's been a disaster from the start," said Ehrenreich.

Though demolishing the stadium had gained a lot of traction among residents, Ehrenreich agreed with the city that this was not an option.

"[The stadium is] here now and it must still be of use to the city at preferential rates," he said.

Mayoral committee member for tourism, marketing and special events Grant Pascoe said the city wanted the stadium to be financially self-sustaining.

He said the first step would be to obtain a new environmental authorisation and the second to get rezoning permission.

"These applications are required to optimise development opportunities and the marketability of the stadium, enhance the income streams possible and to secure the economic and environmental sustainability of the stadium in the future," said Pascoe.

All but one of the city's 211 councillors this week voted for the plan, which would see control of the stadium passing to a private entity, in which the city would hold shares, similar to the arrangement with the Convention Centre Company, which operates the Cape Town International Convention Centre.