Sunday, October 21

Last chance to take a fun ride at Ratanga

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Capetonians have only four days left to spend time at Ratanga Junction before the theme park closes its doors on Tuesday in preparation for redevelopment.

Capetonians have only four days left to spend time at Ratanga Junction before the theme park closes its doors on Tuesday in preparation for redevelopment. 

Last year the Rabie Property Group announced the site will be redeveloped into a “vibrant mixed-use precinct”.

Although planning was then still at an early stage, Rabie director Jon Chapman said he envisaged it would include residential apartments, offices, hotels, restaurants and convenience retail.

He confirmed this week that planning for the redevelopment is continuing and that after Ratanga closes on May 1, a lot of groundwork will begin.

“The rides will have to be decommissioned and removed, and a great deal of work will need to be done reconfiguring and servicing the Ratanga terrain to accommodate the planned 120 000m² development before work can start.

“While individual projects are still being finalised, the overall vision for the redevelopment of Ratanga remains that of a mixed-use development comprising commercial, residential and hospitality/leisure components set around waterways and a public park.”

Chapman says the site redevelopment will take place on a phased basis over a number of years, and the exact timing will depend on market demand.

“We are still going through the approval processes with Council and it is unlikely we will be in a position to announce specific projects in detail before the end of the year.”

Following Rabie’s initial announcement in August last year, councillor Brett Herron, mayoral committee member for transport and urban development, confirmed that a formal land use application for the amendment of the Century City Development Framework had been received by the City and was being processed.

“The amendment is set to enable the redevelopment of the existing Ratanga Junction property for mixed-use development.

“The amendment of the development framework is merely one facet of the planning process to be evaluated by the City.

“Should the City consider the amendment of the framework favourably, several further land use applications, for example subdivision and consolidation, will be required prior to any actual redevelopment taking place.”

The land does have the appropriate business zoning. 

Chapman also explained the closure of Ratanga and the redevelopment of the land had been in the offing since 2004, when Rabie bought into Century City and acquired the undeveloped land and associated rights, including Ratanga.

The oversized facility, lack of consistent demand for a theme park, seasonal weather, expensive maintenance and running costs, as well as ageing equipment, had all contributed to an unprofitable facility when Rabie acquired it, he said.

He said that though the theme park had eventually reached a point where it was able to “wash itself”, this was not sufficient to justify its continued existence “because rides need to be renewed and revenue cannot support the high capital costs”.

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