Baakens Valley and Tramways redevelopment update: MBDA Chief Executive Officer – Dr Pierre Voges on progress so far


The almost completed MBDA Master Plan (between the Tramways Building and the Bridge Street Brewery) for the Baakens Valley (it also includes Vuyisile Mini Square, where upgrading will start in July 2015, including a Vuyisile Mini Statue) is a project where a Tourism Real Estate node will be created through infrastructure upgrading, the rehabilitation of the river, including the creation of a water body, heritage, art, culture and an office, retail, residential, entertainment and leisure for the broad middle class.

It will form an even a bigger precinct when Transnet finally develops the marina-commercial development from just across the Tramways, up to the tank farm, manganese ore facility and also the land across Humerail.

The Tramways and Baakens Valley project is looking at the creation of new buildings, but firstly the recycling of old industrial buildings in a generally derelict area in order to revitalise this node.

It also includes a pedestrian bridge across the river to unlock parking on the CBD side. Further parking will be created, inter alia using the vast area under the freeway for an upgraded, safe, well-lit and landscaped parking area, that will not only benefit the Valley, but also the CBD.

 The Valley and the inner City must reflect the status and dignity of Nelson Mandela. It must match a regional, African character. None of these developments will be successful though if they do not make a positive investment impact on the private sector.

That is what we are beginning to see now and that is the real test for success, i.e. when public sector investments lead to private sector investment. The Brickmakers Bridge was also a catalyst for development.

Tramways and Baakens Valley developments will include:

  • Extending the linear road network & cross-connections that facilitate access and development potential
  • Enhancing access around the inner city and beyond
  • Creating a public spaces system that integrates natural environment into hard and soft city spaces

In short, the Baakens Valley and Tramways development node is positioned as a meeting place, a making place and people’s place. The plan is to celebrate all heritages built around the history, built environment, cultural and creative economy.  

Tramways building completion - September 2015


Photo caption: Dr Pierre Voges - MBDA Chief Executive Officer