The Nelson Mandela Bay Development Agency (MBDA) has called for expressions of interest from national and international property developers for the construction of a R500-million international convention centre.
Commenting on the call for expressions of interest advertised last week, MBDA chief executive officer Pierre Voges said that what was unique about the project “is the manner in which funding will be secured for the venture”.
Voges said the MBDA had identified three potential sources of funding for the development of the centre.
These were the sale or lease of the land on which it will be developed; imposition of a tourism development levy on business for a specific period of time; and a casino licence “exclusivity fee” through the Eastern Cape Gambling Board for the renewal of the current Boardwalk casino licence in 2010.
He said calls for expression of interest had been made “in order to secure funding for the centre from the potential sale or lease of municipal and State- owned land to private developers and to secure a developer and site for the centre”.
Outlining the process leading to the calls for expressions of interest, deputy mayor Bicks Ndoni said the metro had investigated the centre and had decided to make it a priority project “because of its synergies with other developments and its inherent tourism potential”.
“If construction were to start in early 2008, it could be completed by 2010,” Ndoni said.
Voges said various parcels of land had been identified in the expression of interest documents that were considered to be of potential interest to property developers, although the document also allowed interested parties to identify any other land they considered suitable during the expression of interest process.
The landowners had been consulted in each instance and a land valuation exercise would be carried out for each parcel of land.
“It should be noted that if State-owned land is chosen as the ideal site for this development, we will require the full consent and co-operation of the respective State-owned entity in order to proceed,” Voges stressed.
“This expression of interest process will proceed from a transparent and interactive negotiation stage through to a formal request for proposals once the land parcels for development have been clearly identified,” he said.
Parcels of land in the city include Humerail, the Group 6 army base at Happy Valley, EPRU Stadium in Humewood, Kings Beach and Madiba Bay Leisure Park.
Developers have until October 26 to submit their proposals. A briefing meeting is scheduled for August 24.