Technopark Future Developments: Progress, Prospects & Potentials

Technopark Stellenbosch From the Sky
If you work in Technopark or are an owner in the park, please click here to complete our project survey. The survey will take 5-10 minutes and will ensure that better information is gathered for important decisions that are being made about Technopark’s future

Since its inception in 2015, the Technopark Special Ratings Area (SRA) has launched a number of smaller projects to improve the upkeep and maintenance of Technopark. Last year, however, the SRA board took a decision that, as part of its large-scale modernisation venture, it had become necessary to investigate the possibility of zoning amendments to effect more comprehensive changes in the park. Modern zoning for technology parks worldwide often include living units, and are more amenable to the inclusion of spaces for people to connect, enjoy themselves and socialise. In Technopark, current zoning restrictions inhibit its development in that direction, and so a task team was commissioned to study and lead a rezoning project for the park.

The team is led by Dr. Pieter van Heyningen from SustNet, who has long been involved in the future development and planning for Techno Park, along with sub-committee members Johan Schutte and Rikus Erasmus. Technical expertise is provided by by Gerhard Swart from Urban Dynamix (technical lead), Ryan Alexander from Aurecon (technical modelling), Piet van Blerk from ICE Group (traffic scenarios) and Mokena Makeka from Makeka designs (Architect and Urban Designers). They have been tasked with developing a comprehensive, evidence-based report on the possibilities for the future development of Technopark. The aim is to ascertain the best possible future use of existing land parcels in the park (including municipal land and dams), as well as to ascertain possible growth nodes through the bulking of existing land-use rights (i.e. the expansion of gross lettable area).

Three different bulking scenarios are being considered for Technopark. These include scenarios where living units are brought into the park, as well as different parking solutions, traffic routes, non-motorised routes and beautification of the park (among others). For each of these scenarios, the team is calculating advantages, disadvantages and possible impacts, and in each case the principles of sustainability and innovation will feature as prominent considerations.

A crucial part of the process is primary stakeholder engagement (including inputs from the University of Stellenbosch and Stellenbosch Municipality), as well as surveys and interviews with building- and business owners in Technopark. The Technopark SRA, as the representative body, will host a public meeting/showcase to obtain inputs from any interested and affected parties. The SRA’s final position will then be documented and proposed in a report to Stellenbosch Municipality for consideration. This process will ensure that control of the destiny of Technopark remains with business- and building owners.

The project promises considerable advantages to current owners, not least of which is the dissemination of valuable information. These advantages include:

  • A clear and factual picture of the current baseline of Gross Lettable Area (GLA) in Technopark, as well as appropriate allocation of parking space. The latter will provide us with an argument for making more land available for parking from municipal properties in the park.
  • A clear knowledge of the potential for development in the park, with given infrastructure and bulk services.
  • A clear indication of any additional future bulk services contribution in the park.
  • Given new potential height restrictions, new development opportunities should present themselves.
  • A longer-term and more permanent solution to both the parking and traffic problems in Techno Park (e.g. in the new link road being considered as part of the scenarios).
  • A new zoning scheme that is aligned to global best practice for innovation/business parks.
  • Heightened potential for transforming Technopark into a desirable live, work, play and innovate space.
  • Proposals to redevelop, or landscape the current open areas of Technopark (including dams).
  • The project may lead to a new modernised set of building regulations and codes for future development to protect property owners (which would contribute, among other things, to better parking and traffic management in the future).
  • A modernised concept for Technopark, enabled through new zoning and with amended development rights, height restrictions and living units and public landscaping, would allow for more supporting business like coffee shops, restaurants, bars, small retail outlets, etc.

Furthermore, we foresee that new zoning and development rights in Techno Park should lead to an increase in property values, as it will open the door to new developments and larger lettable area, and hence income.

There are clearly substantial advantages to the redevelopment of Technopark in light of potential new zoning amendments. However, there are also risks and possible negative impacts. These will be highlighted in the scenarios the zoning task team are in the process of putting together, and we are highly conscious that sensitivities need to be considered. The consultative process to be followed ensures the best possible outcome with the greatest value for the largest number of stakeholders.

This is the first communication in a series of three that will keep you abreast of how things are developing in the zoning amendment project. We will be sure to notify you when the opportunity arises to engage with the task team, once the consultative design work has been completed. The first intervention will be in the form of a survey, which is launched today – please see link below. Please make an effort to complete this survey, as the measure of success for the project is linked to the degree of community involvement we can obtain.

If you have any questions, thoughts, concerns, ideas or positive contributions to the project, please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Pieter van Heyningen at pieter@sustnet.com.

If you work in Technopark or are an owner in the park, please click here to complete our project survey. The survey will take 5-10 minutes and will ensure that better information is gathered for important decisions that are being made about Techno Park’s future

Leave a Reply

You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>