The Craft Market and Wellness Centre at the V&A Waterfront is set to undergo a R50m facelift that promises a remarkable transformation of the space known for incubating small scale crafters into internationally acclaimed traders.
Announcing the project, the V&A Waterfront said in a statement “What once was a power station is set to become a powerhouse of design and creativity celebrating the best of South Africa for the future.” This refers to the historical Blue Shed, the current structure housing the Craft Market and Wellness Centre.
Recent history does suggest that an initiative like this nature demands due care or it can cause trouble for the landlord. Experiences of the fracas surrounding the redevelopment of The Mall of Rosebank in Johannesburg are still fresh in the minds of many people.
The V&A Waterfront statement said the redevelopment of the Craft Market and Wellness Centre will see a radical six month transformation not only in its redesigned exterior but also in the curated craft, design and wellness products that will find a home in the new space.
The V&A Waterfront has committed R50 million rand to the extensive renovation and refurbishment of the Blue Shed, which will see the incorporation of the existing (historical) adjacent building, to create additional retail, wellness and commercial space.
The statement noted that the Waterfront is the lifeblood of many small scale businesses that use the foothold they are given at locations such as the Blue Shed, the Craft Market and various Barrows to develop sustainable businesses which, as they grow, create additional employment opportunities for Capetonians. Success stories include Naartjie, which started in the Blue Shed and is now an international brand.
V&A Waterfront CEO David Green said, “Enterprise development is enormously important to us, not simply because we want to see small businesses grow, but also because we have a vested interest in their success. The Blue Shed offering is one of the distinguishing factors from traditional malls. By curating and celebrating local artists, creators and innovators, we are raising their voices to reach the world. We rely on small business to keep visitors coming back by providing the kind of variety, level of craft and inspired design our local and international visitors find so attractive.”
The statement said current tenants will be relocated to a 900 square metre marquee on the North Wharf during the development period. During this time, a curator will work with the V&A Waterfront to realise their vision of transforming this into a unique retail hub, which is a platform for entrepreneurs, innovators and creative thinkers, representing the best of craft and design in Cape Town, South Africa and Africa overall.
Green said “Our dedication to small business lies in our commitment to providing a platform for entrepreneurs. Small business represents a small percentage of our total business but with this investment we are affirming our belief in the power of creative industries. In a recent Economic Impact Study, we established the job creation power that small business has and this investment will further enhance this power, ’’ said Green.