The big, beau­ti­ful turnaround

How Green Point got its groove back to be­come a siz­zling in­vest­ment

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - PROPERTY - PHIL OAKES

IN THE 1990s Green Point was run­down, the streets were chock full of lit­ter, build­ings were di­lap­i­dated and in a state of de­cay, and the feel­ing among some own­ers was that they couldn’t give their prop­erty away.

So, where did wrong?

It hap­pened when drug deal­ers moved into the area in the mid-1990s, spark­ing a rise in crime and ur­ban de­cay.

Two decades later, though, busi­nesses are boom­ing, prop­erty prices are soar­ing and the area has be­come “siz­zling hot”. So, where did it all go right? The Green Point turnaround is due to the con­ver­gence of a num­ber of forces, such as the en­force­ment of the “bro­ken win­dows” phi­los­o­phy by then Green Point coun­cil­lor JP Smith, the launch of the Green Point City Im­prove­ment District, a range of civil so­ci­ety ini­tia­tives and a slew of de­vel­op­ments.

“I re­mem­ber that at the time I counted 120 empty premises and 14 slum prop­er­ties,” says Smith, who was the coun­cil­lor from 2000 to 2010.

The Green Point CID was formed when ratepay­ers agreed to pay a levy – based on the value of their prop­erty – for extra ser­vices.

When it was formed in 2001, the value of prop­erty in the Green Point area was at an all­time low with peo­ple re­fer­ring to it as “Hill­brow by the sea”.

“Peo­ple were mov­ing out,” says Green Point CID CEO Marc Truss. “Some­thing had it all go to be done.”

The CID tack­led crime and grime, plant­ing trees, putting up lights and re­mov­ing about 1 500 bags of rub­bish each month. They also added se­cu­rity – rent-a-cops – to top-up the lo­cal author­ity’s ser­vices.

“We are a strength­en­ing hand to ex­ist­ing ser­vice providers. We wanted to make peo­ple feel safe,” said Truss.

He says crime has de­creased over the past 15 years, and although he can’t give pre­cise fig­ures, he be­lieves the CID has helped to re­duce crim­i­nal acts by at least 50% in Green Point.

Smith says that in ad­di­tion to the CID ini­tia­tives, civil so­ci­ety, the po­lice and the Com­mu­nity Po­lice Fo­rum all con- verged to erad­i­cate crime and grime.

“I think the first real swing came about in 2007,” he says.

Now that the area had turned, the next chal­lenge was to change the per­cep­tion that Green Point was in a state of per­ma­nent de­cay.

These ini­tia­tives were a ma­jor con­fi­dence booster for de­vel­op­ers to en­ter the area – and over the years the area has seen res­i­den­tial and com­mer­cial de­vel­op­ment. Then came the 2010 Soc­cer World Cup, which saw the con­struc­tion of the Cape Town Sta­dium – home of Pre­mier Soc­cer League clubs Ajax Cape Town and Cape Town City, and music con­certs with Justin Bieber re­cently sell­ing out the venue.

A legacy of the World Cup was the Green Point Com­mon, which is a slice of par­adise in the heart of the Mother City. The park is un­doubt­edly Cape Town’s best kept se­cret – it has an out­door gym, cre­ative jun­gle gyms, a labyrinth and a rich va­ri­ety of in­dige­nous flora.

It’s all about location. Green Point is a stone’s throw away from the Wa­ter­front and con­ve­niently sand­wiched be­tween

‘We’ve helped

Green Point CID

the CBD and At­lantic Seaboard, and has great restau­rants and hip­ster hang­outs.

It’s lit­tle won­der that prop­erty in Green Point is in mas­sive de­mand with price growth year-on-year at some of the high­est cap­i­tal ap­pre­ci­a­tion rates in the coun­try.

Billy Raut­en­bach, sales di­rec­tor of Se­eff At­lantic Seaboard & City Bowl, de­scribes Green Point as an “in­vest­ment hot spot”, which is real es­tate speak for “buy now, you won’t be sorry”.

There is huge de­mand for prop­er­ties in Green Point and price growth is among the high­est in the coun­try.

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