City Hall gets first revamp in decades

It’s been a marathon nine-month revamp for City Hall, the Grand Old Dame who has undergone a nip and tuck to restore her to her former glory.

Standing for 113 years, this makeover is the first major refurbishment of the facility since 1947.

The bulk of the work in City Hall’s makeover is in the final stages, with the finishing touches currently being made to the auditorium. The current phase includes extensive work in the auditorium and surrounding function rooms.

The seating in the auditorium has been replaced, the floors have been stabilised and restored, a mechanical ventilation system, public address system and evacuation system have been installed, and the mouldings, stage and backstage area have been restored­.

The revamp of the facility started a few months ago, and the repainting of the main entrance hall, refurbishment of the slate roof and repairs to the organ were completed in the previous financial year.

“City Hall is one of our oldest and most central public spaces, with a rich history that resonates with Capetonians as well as visitors to our city. These extensive renovations will provide the facility with a new lease on life. Additionally, the proposals to honour Madiba’s legacy with permanent installations here will add to City Hall’s appeal as an attraction for locals and visitors,” says Mayco member for assets and facilities management, Stuart Diamond.

Planned work for next year includes the upgrading of the ground-floor offices and bathrooms and the fencing of the rear entrance to City Hall.

“As a key strategic asset of the City, its upkeep and maintenance had to be done with the utmost care to preserve the integrity of this heritage building and the equipment within. The refurbishment will enhance the aesthetics of the building and, given its proximity to the Grand Parade, the Old Drill Hall and Castle of Good Hope, will establish this precinct as the historical and cultural heart of Cape Town,” says Diamond­.

The City is planning to host a multicultural event in September to launch the refurbished auditorium to a number of stakeholders­.

In addition, a Conservation Management Plan is with Heritage Western Cape for approval. The refurbishment will help to determine and implement appropriate civic uses and tenants for the facility.