PRASA plans Cape Town station facelift

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Steve Appleton
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PRASA plans Cape Town station facelift

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From Business Day, 7 September 2011. http://www.businessday.co.za/articles/C ... ?id=152696
Prasa plans Cape Town station facelift.

PASSENGER Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) is planning a R1bn facelift of Cape Town’s train station as part of a broader R8bn redevelopment of its stations around the country.

NICKY SMITH
Published: 2011/09/07 07:18:12 AM

PASSENGER Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) is planning a R1bn facelift of Cape Town’s train station as part of a broader R8bn redevelopment of its stations around the country. The development, to be carried out in partnership with the Eris Property Group, is part of Prasa’s broader programme of improving the financial position of the state- owned rail agency by increasing the returns it generates from its property portfolio. Prasa is embarking on a massive upgrade to its rolling stock as well as signalling systems and is keen to unlock value from its property assets to help fund its capital expenditure programme and funding its day-to-day operations. The first phase of the proposed redevelopment will include the introduction of a shopping precinct and the construction of a three-star hotel, Grant Rock, the executive director for asset development at Prasa subsidiary property management unit Intersite, said this week.

In parallel to the Cape Town station development 24 other stations have been identified for development by the private sector. To date, the value of the proposed developments being pursued comes to a total of R8bn, Mr Rock said.

Intersite manages the group’s stations and is responsible for upgrading and developing the land around the stations and in some instances for disposing of properties to raise cash for the rail agency. Last year the rail agency was R1bn short of its operating cash requirements. The model that is being used will give developers tenure on the properties for periods between 20 and 50 years depending on the type and the extent of the investments made, Mr Rock said.

On the Cape Town development Mr Rock said the developers would need to demolish some of the buildings in the station while new ones would also need to be built. "They proposed various phases for the development because you need to take cognisance of the operational needs of the station," he said. Development of the project is likely to begin in about two years, with the agreement being finalised in the next three months.

Another station scheduled for a makeover is Naledi train station in Soweto where Prasa owns "quite a bit of land", Mr Rock said. This end- of-the-line station will include about 10 000m² of retail space and residential units. "We haven’t concluded the leases (for the stations) yet. We are still in feasibility stages and have signed commitment agreements with the developers that we selected as preferred bidders," Mr Rock said. "We have said, ‘now go and do your homework’ and they have a period of between 12 and 24 months to do their full feasibility studies and to secure the funding required."

In some instances, as with the Cape Town station, there is rezoning work that is required as all of Prasa’s property assets are zoned for rail-use only. Prasa has a large property portfolio which is housed in its subsidiary Prasa Corporate Real Estate Solutions which includes 374 rail commuter stations and 4200ha of land in Durban, Johannesburg, Cape Town and Pretoria. These are in turn managed by Intersite.

Prasa CEO Lucky Montana said Rand Merchant Bank had been appointed to help Prasa find a strategic equity partner for Intersite. A stake of between 30% and 49% may be sold. "We are keen on disposing of 20% and then releasing another 10% when market conditions allow," Mr Montana said.

Prasa is also in discussions with the Department of Transport to get approval for the disposal of some of the non-strategic properties in its portfolio. "Our business requires cash and we think that we are sitting on huge assets," Mr Montana said.

Next March, Prasa will begin its R107bn fleet renewal programme when it puts out to tender the replacement of much of the agency’s aged fleet over the next 20 years. Prasa has initially estimated the programme would cost R97bn and be completed over an 18-year period. A third of the fleet of 3600 coaches needs to be retired as they have reached the end of their design life. Prasa wants delivery of the first coaches in 2013-14 to avoid disruption to its passenger rail services.

Over the next five years Prasa will also invest R17bn in signalling system upgrades. Later this month, Prasa will issue tenders for the upgrade of its signalling systems on its busiest corridors in KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape, each worth about R3bn. A R1bn tender for upgrades in Gauteng has already been awarded to Siemens.
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Steve Appleton
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Re: PRASA plans Cape Town station facelift

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I thougth that Cape Town station had recently undergone a facelift ahead of the football World Cup. Is this not facelifting the facelift?
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allanroy
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Re: PRASA plans Cape Town station facelift

Post by allanroy »

i am confused as its just been redone.
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Dylan Knott
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Re: PRASA plans Cape Town station facelift

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yes I don't get it either!
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Re: PRASA plans Cape Town station facelift

Post by John Ashworth »

Reading the article is seems to me that "facelift" is the wrong description. They seem to be talking about complete redevelopment by the private sector, building shopping malls and hotels as part of the station. That goes way beyond a facelift.

In many British stations it has been a disaster, in my view, although St Pancras is a notable exception, and it seems to have worked for a lot of continental European stations.
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Dylan Knott
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Re: PRASA plans Cape Town station facelift

Post by Dylan Knott »

still won't work! Leave the station as it is.
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Re: PRASA plans Cape Town station facelift

Post by John Ashworth »

Serendipitously, there's an article in UK RAIL magazine, 678, September 7-September 20 2011, pp 57-60, about this very concept, ie shops on railway stations. Entitled Setting up shops, its sub-heading is, "Shopping on stations will generate [GBP] 1 bn for Network Rail in the next five years". Like it or hate it (and most of us railway enthusiasts hate it!), it seems that it's here to stay - or at least to stay until the next free-market inspired short-term trend sweeps it away. Capitalism in action!
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