MBDA 2015 Economic Barometer shows strong returns after urban renewal projects

DECEMBER 11, 2015

The Mandela Bay Development Agency (MBDA) on Thursday announced the results of its annual economic barometer study, which measures and reflects the return on urban renewal investment in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan area.

The MBDA study analyses a variety of economic indicators, such as business confidence, private sector investment in real-estate through upgrading, and correlative job creation of businesses in these areas.

In addition to a survey directed at business owners and residents, MBDA’s research also includes formal economic impact assessments in areas in which catalytic and turnkey urban renewal and development projects either have taken place or are underway. These areas include Helenvale, Central, North End, Richmond Hill, Uitenhage CBD, King’s Beach and New Brighton. 

On average 48 % of all businesses in these areas made improvements to their properties in 2014, up from 37.4% in 2013. In the residential sector, 39,3% of property owners made improvements to their homes.

The total invested by businesses across all areas in 2014 was R23,8 million, and by residents a total of R4,3 million. The average value of the improvements made to properties by business owners was R155 657, while the amount recorded in the residential market was R14 716.   

The three top urban nodes in which business owners made improvements to properties were King’s Beach (83%), Richmond Hill (68,3%) and Helenvale (65%). In the residential category, the highest number of home improvements were recorded in Central (75%), Richmond Hill (33,7%)  and King’s Beach (33%).

Richmond Hill recorded the highest average value of property improvements in the business category (R288 036), followed by New Brighton (R272 500) and Kings Beach (R260 000). In the residential market, King’s Beach home owners invested the highest average (R137 000), followed by North End (R31 184) and then Central (R21 667). 

“Overall, we are extremely pleased with what is happening in Central and Richmond Hill as evinced by our study findings. It is especially rewarding to see how MBDA programmes in Helenvale are leading to investment in the business sector, and the same can be said for New Brighton,” said Dr Pierre Voges, Chief Executive of MBDA.

In 2014, employment creation by businesses in the upgraded urban areas added 385 new jobs to the Nelson Mandela Bay economy, with the largest numbers being recorded in Central (193), North End and King’s Beach (both 48) and then Richmond Hill (43). On average, one out of four businesses (26,5%) in the upgraded urban areas hired new staff in 2014, with the exception being Helenvale.

On average, nearly 8% of businesses in the upgraded urban areas were start-ups, in their first year of operation. Central (15,3%) and Helenvale (15%) are Nelson Mandela Bay’s hub for new start-ups, with the King’s Beach area following closely with the most start-up companies in areas upgraded or under development by the MBDA.

The MBDA economic barometer also showed that 45% of business in the areas, and 44% of residential owners, agreed that the organisation’s urban development programmes had increased property values relative to other areas in the city.

Other insights generated by MBDA economic barometer included the following findings:

  • The rankings of the various environmental factors showed that amongst all survey respondents, the MBDA’s upgrades had been highly effective at addressing the number of derelict properties in Central.
  • 84,9% of all respondents indicated that they were positive or extremely positive about the aesthetic improvements to Donkin Reserve, Athenaeum and Trinder Square.
  • In Helenvale, 91,6% of individuals polled were extremely positive or positive about the aesthetic improvements in the area; 92,5% of residents and 70% of businesses indicated that their refuse was collected regularly, while 36,8% of all respondents noted there were sufficient refuse bins in place; and 70% of businesses and 60,9% of residents indicated that they were satisfied with the cleanliness in the area.

The following investments where made in properties during the period:

  • The total value invested by Central businesses into their properties between 2009 and 2011, as well as in 2013 and 2014 was R 50.2 million.
  • The total value of investment by Helenvale businesses into their properties in 2013 and 2014 was R510 003. This is compared to an investment of R2.3 million by Helenvale residents. 
  • The total value invested by King’s Beach businesses into their properties in 2011 as well as in 2013 and 2014 was R12.7 million. Residents in comparison only invested 
    R 855 000 over the same period.
  •  The total value invested by Richmond Hill businesses into their properties in 2013 and 2014 was R11.8 million, compared to R405 000 by residents.
  • Total cumulative investment for 2014 in the Uitenhage CBD businesses was 
    R4.1 million.

“There is no doubt that the face of Nelson Mandela Bay has changed dramatically in recent years. The development agenda underlying this visible transformation, and indeed informing all the MBDA’s work, is very clear:  to deliver catalytic projects that generate a positive economic and social impact, making Nelson Mandela Bay an attractive place to live, work, play and invest,” Dr. Voges said.

“The MBDA has proven its value in developing a vision and corresponding strategies, manifesting these through the completion of sustainable projects that spur public confidence and investment in previously neglected and under-utilised spaces.

“As communities in Nelson Mandela Bay continue to face new challenges, the MBDA will continue to meet those challenges head-on to facilitate prosperity and growth in the years to come,” said Voges.

According to MBDA Board Chairman Motse Mfuleni, Nelson Mandela Bay is busy turning a corner.  He said there was now strong political stability in metro, which is an important factor for investors.  He noted that on a year-on-year basis there has been a decline civil protest over service delivery, and this bodes well for the work of the MBDA to continue uninterrupted.  

Danny Jordaan, Executive Mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay has expressed his gratitude for the role of the MBDA at the event this morning.

“I want to thank the MBDA.  Their catalytic projects have ignited huge energy and enthusiasm, and we are seeing tremendous interest in the city,” he said.

“The MBDA’s work is helping us to engage on a broader economic front to stimulate the economy in this metro.   We are on the beginning of five golden years of this metro, I believe,” he said.

At the same event, it was revealed that the MBDA had als acquired the land adjacent to the Tramways Building, including the historic graveyard, for a good price. According to Voges, in the meantime, they would clean out the area while deciding how to best utlise it in the long-term.

It also emerged that there were talks for Bayworld, in Summerstrand, to b handed over back to the City.

Executive Mayor Jordaan noted; “Pierre did jump the gun when he talked about Bayworld, because we have not signed the agreement yet, but I am happy to say that there is agreement for us to sign with provincial government who have agreed to hand Bayworld over to the metro.”

He said that Bayworld was an eyesore on the whole Kings Beach Development "and we have to fix that too".

See our photo gallery from the event HERE.