At the end of 2019 the city centre had vacancy rates for its 1.02 million cubic metres of office space of 10.8%. Of its 274,605m2 worth of retail space, 9.4% was vacant. With estimates that a third of SA businesses won’t survive the year, those rates are already much higher.
Cape Town Central Improvement District (CCID — the organisation which compiles the report) CEO Tasso Evangelinos was optimistic about the city centre’s odds and said the city had a track record of defeating crises.
“There is disenchantment with working from home. The traffic has already returned to the city. People need to come back to the CBD,” he said.
“The city went through a crisis in the late 1990s and in 2018 it won an award for the way it dealt with the water crisis,” he said.
CCID chairperson Rob Kane wrote in the preamble to the report: “(Covid-19) has damaged the central city’s economy, for sure, but Cape Town is not known as the Cape of Storms for nothing. As Wesgro CEO Tim Harris notes, Covid-19 has also brought unprecedented opportunity, spurring innovation and transformation.”