Cape Town - "The planned closure of Ratanga is not imminent."
This is according to Century City on Friday, 2 June, following reports that a R1bn development on the property will close down the beloved Mother City adventure park for good.
"It will depend on when the land is required for redevelopment which in turn will be a function of the state of the economy and market demand for offices and housing. This is likely to be in the next two to four years, but the exact timing is impossible to predict accurately," Century City said in a statement.
A spokesperson for developer group Rabie, however, told SA People that the "20-hectare theme park would close by 2018", and Century City admits that Ratanga has been running at a loss since early days.
When Rabie purchased Ratanga in 2005 it made clear plans that it was purchasing the park to acquire the land for future development. Since then there have been numerous speculations predicting the pending closure of the park, but Century City holds strong that the "planned closure of Ratanga is not imminent".
"When the time is right, the land will be redeveloped as a mixed-use precinct which will consist of residential, commercial and leisure components," they say.
Some of the rides might be sold, but they are also "exploring the possibility of retaining some of the kiddie rides for a smaller leisure attraction".
Century City admits that, "Ratanga Junction was over-capitalised for the South African market, and that the heavy losses incurred in the early years eventually led to the demise of the developer, Monex."
The new development hopes to be much more profitable. This R1billion Century City Square project includes a Conference Centre, hotel, restaurants, offices and apartments. The conference centre and hotel opened earlier this year, and the rest of the development, including the restaurants, is on stream.
Century City was started in 1997 on a 250-hectare piece of bare land and has been mushroomed into a mixed-use development – shops, suburbs, offices. Ratanga Junction, which opened in 1998 at a reported cost of R350 million, was followed by the Canal Walk shopping mall.
Take a look at how it's grown over the years:
Ratanga’s seasonal theme park rides will be open to the public in the coming school holidays, at discounted fares, Century City Centre says.
When: From 8 July to 17 July.
Note: Ratanga says it will be turning the clock back to 2006 ticket prices, so you can take along the whole family
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