CBD Economic Strategy

It is proposed to prepare a Resource Document towards an Economic Strategy for the CBD by the end of April 2001. The document will provide:

  • An overview of the Durban CBD economy
     
  • A comparative analysis of international best practices
     
  • An examination of challenges and opportunities
     
  • Consideration of various options for positioning of the CBD and its spatial strengths

Stakeholder consultation around the Resource Document should proceed in May/ June, leading to the preparation of a Strategy Document in July/August. The Strategy Document should spell out an economic vision for the CBD, specific objectives and action plans, with a view to the implementation of various project plans beginning towards the end of November 2001. This work will also be informed by a number of specific studies outlined below.

Specialist Studies

Benchmarking of Service Delivery Standards (April - June 2001)

As part of the CBD Revitalization Programme it is essential to clearly define the City’s responsibilities regarding the delivery of services and service standards relative to those of the UIPs. If this is not properly addressed it is likely that continued conflict with the UIPs over service standards will result. It is therefore essential to ensuring a sustainable and successful working relationship between the Council and the UIPs.

Better Buildings Strategy  (Feb – June 2001)

Following approval of a report to Metro Economics Committee in October 2000, we have been tasked to develop a Strategy for Better Buildings in the CBD. This involves three types of CBD buildings:

  • Derelict buildings requiring maintenance
     
  • Criminal Havens – the really “Bad” Buildings
     
  • Economically dysfunctional buildings which no longer meet market requirements.

Two workshops have been held with a variety of departments with some role to play in the improvement of CBD buildings:

The first workshop on “Better Buildings” tended to focus primarily on Criminal Havens and highlighted the need to ensure an appropriate level of support and involvement from key departments; Legal Services in particular. To this end a meeting has been set up with Darrell Lansdell of Corporate Services on 8 March.

Further discussions with the CBD Leader and Operations TST Convener has led to an agreement that this initiative should properly fall under the Operations TST, with research and strategy feeding in from the Economics & Planning TST.

The second workshop of relevance to the issue of CBD buildings was the workshop on Metropolitan Office Trends held on 27 February.

Metropolitan Office Trends (Phase 2: Feb – June 2001)

While the focus of this is on the office decentralization trend and its impact on the CBD, it is closely related to the issues of derelict buildings and economically dysfunctional buildings.

There was general agreement that an Offices Policy should not take the form of precluding further office development in decentralized nodes as this would merely lead to a flight away from Durban to other centres.

It was also agreed that the issue of Better Buildings needed to be tackled in two phases:

  • Immediately at an Operational level (although these actions should work in support a longer term strategy). 
     
  • Focus strategically at what can be done to turn CBD building use & condition around. Need to look at a number of potential creative solutions.

To inform this longer term strategy, the workshop highlighted the need for a number of further actions:

  • Plotting of development control applications and enquiries on a cadastral plan to be undertaken by Development Management Dept by mid-March.
     
  • Strategy meeting with CBD team needed on report to Council and release of findings of study to the public. To follow mid-March orientation of Councillors.
     
  • Need to agree on process for coordinating on on-going basis with other departments.
     
  • Liaise with Incentives Study currently being undertaken by Econ Dept & UND.
     
  • Need for research on needs of institutional investors and those currently investing in CBD properties (see Obstacles to Investment Study).
     
  • Need to prepare document on building management issues. Look at case studies of different building types and options for use.
     
  • Education campaign needed to make users of CBD aware of opportunities for re-use of existing buildings. 
     
  • Research overseas trends on moves back into CBDs. What relevance to Durban.

Tourism Strategy for Warwick & Grey Street area (mid-March – June 2001)

To be coordinated by Zola Dyasi (in consultation with Economics & Planning TST). Zola is to work up a brief for the preparation of a Tourism Strategy which may either focus on Warwick Junction District or could, if logical, extend across the entire CBD. This would be the first phase of a Tourism Plan for the area and would need to include:

  • An assessment of the current status of tourism planning in the area.
     
  • Compilation of a data base through attitude surveys, audits of facilities, etc.
     
  • Preparation of a strategy which identifies priorities for development and further areas of study.

Investigation of Obstacles to Investment in the CBD  (Mid-March – June 2001)

(Possibly combine with appointment for Offices Policy)

It is proposed to motivate for the CBD to be established as a LEDZ. As part of the LEDZ establishment process an investigation into the obstacles to development is required. This should cover a wide range of issues including:

  • Views of existing and would-be investors;
     
  • Assessment of technological requirements of business;
     
  • Analysis of changes in types of tenancies and future directions;
     
  • Legislative and financial obstacles (e.g., red lining by banks) 
     
  • Potential incentives for investors.

CBD Facilitation and Communications

A brief has been sent out to a shortlist of three firms for the establishment of a CBD Stakeholder  Forum and the marketing and communications needs of TRUMP.

It is proposed that this work should commence in April, with a view to having a Stakeholder Forum in place in May 2001.