Newlands, the grand old lady of cricket grounds, could get a facelift from April next year.
Reports on Thursday have said that the Western Province Cricket Association (WPCA) is planning a re-development of its Newlands stadium which would see corporate boxes turned into office space.
The re-development would cost about R400m and should be completed by 2017. That is if the City of Cape Town approves the WPCA’s proposal to re-zone Newlands. The WPCA still owes R22m on the stadium and is hoping to lure investors to help finance the development.
Des Raymer from the Edudev company is the development manager for the project. He told Netwerk24 when the new stadium was built (in the early 1990s) it was built to have corporate boxes.
However, times have changed, according to Raymer. ‘Currently, only 39 of the 114 corporate boxes at Newlands are in use,’ said Raymer.
One of the reasons, he said, is that there are only 17 days in the year that the boxes actually add value for its tenants. Should it be turned into office space, it would generate income for WP Cricket for 365 days a year.
The plan is to convert the inside of the current North-and Presidents pavilions into modern office space, which could be rented out to companies.
Other plans are to move the current change rooms to the Kelvin Grove end on the other side of the ground, to build a parking garage for 500 cars on the old tennis courts next to Kelvin Grove, new restaurants on that side of the ground, as well as a pedestrian bridge over the railway next to the stadium.
The ground hosted its first Test match on 24 March 1889 when England defeated South Africa by an innings and 202 runs. To date there have been 50 Test matches played at the ground of which South Africa have won 18, their opponents 22 and 10 have ended in a draw. The last team besides Australia to beat South Africa there was New Zealand, in January 1962.
The first One-Day International played at the ground was on 7 December 1992 when South Africa beat India by six wickets. There have been 36 ODIs played at the ground, including five in the 2003 Cricket World Cup. South Africa has won 25 of their ODI games here and lost 5 (Pakistan being the most recent opposition victor in November 2013).
Between 1991 and 1997 numerous changes were made to the ground. Large portions of the grass embankments were replaced by pavilions increasing the seating capacity to 25,000.