The Mandela Bay Development Agency (MBDA) will hold a property investment conference next month, as part of an initiative to breathe new life into the city.
The programme address will be made by Mr Alec Erwin, minister of public enterprises. Mr Pierre Voges, chief executive officer of the MBDA, will unveil the development agency's master plan.
According to Mr Ben Nyaumwe, managing director of Auspex Properties, the government has around R400 billion's worth of properties nationwide which will be sold within the next ten years.
Chair person of the MBDA Mr Sipho Pitanya says much land in and around Port Elizabeth is not part of nature reserves and lies empty. He said that this land could easily be turned into profitable commercial and residential developments.
According to him, the MBDA is of the opinion that basic principles should be adhered to before property development in the city could reach new heights. The MBDA is tasked with facilitating development and renewing the central business district of Port Elizabeth.
The principles entail a permit system for informal traders, increased security by means of cameras, and a private company to keep the area clean. He is confident that Port Elizabeth has the economic capacity to upgrade the central business district sustainably.
"It is necessary to create opportunities for a wide variety of enterprises, in addition to the existing commercial, industrial and financial industries in the region. As the city with the fastest growing economy in the Eastern Cape, Port Elizabeth is well situated to take advantage of opportunities as they arise," he said. He hopes that the investor conference will give investment in the area a boost by giving investors the right information.
Investor confidence in the city is already on the increase, as is evidenced by the occupation of retail space. According to Nyaumwe, all retail space in Govan Mbeki Street is occupied.
He says if other South African cities can succeed in getting developments of world quality off the ground, such as Durban with its uShaka Marine World, then Port Elizabeth could easily do the same.