Shopping centre proposed for 3 Arts

The old Three Arts building along Main road in Plumstead. Picture: Facebook

Development of a small-scale shopping centre could begin by May next year at the former 3 Arts Theatre on the Main Road, in Plumstead.

This comes after the building was sold to Rapfund Investments last month.

Alan Menigo, chief operating officer and development manager at Rapfund, says the shopping centre could create 500 to 600 jobs.

Rapfund is a British company, which, according to Mr Menigo, owns shares in various shopping centres across Cape Town, including a big stake in Steenberg Village.

The company wanted to create something similar with the new shopping centre should the City give them the go-ahead, he said.

Mr Menigo said Rapfund still had to apply to the City but the company hoped to begin development – expected to last a year – in April or May next year.

“It’s good to have foreign investment coming into the country, especially with its current state. We’ll be investing in infrastructure and creating jobs with the centre,” he said.

“We’re planning to turn the building into a neighbourhood shopping centre. We want to make it a 7 500 m2 building with grocery shops and restaurants.

“We feel the southern suburbs need something like this you know. It’s going to create so
many jobs, but, for now, everything is up to the City. We’re still liaising with council.”

The 3 Arts Theatre was founded by entertainment entrepreneur, Ronnie Quibell, in
1964. In its time, the theatre hosted several international acts such as Tina Turner and Johnny Holliday. Over the years it has been turned into a cinema, ice rink, nursery and even a film studio.

Four years ago, Plumstead residents started a petition, pleading with the City to do something about the state of the building
which they said had become run-down and unattractive over the years.

The residents complained it was ruining the look of the area.

But according to an Independent Online report, the City could not interfere with the building because it was private property.

When Mr Quibell died in 2011, his sons took over the building. They refused to sell it, saying it was a part of their father’s legacy.

Derek Quibell, one of the sons, said he was not aware of what development there would be in the future after selling the building.

He did not want to comment further.

Rapfund bought the property on Tuesday October 8, and Mr Menigo said both the sale and development would cost the company more than R200 million.

Mr Menigo said the development would provide convenient access and parking for customers.

“The building has been an eyesore for 15 to 20 years. It’s just been left to be this open space for all
this time, and we’re hoping to create something positive with it,” said Mr Menigo.

Residents on the Plumstead Residents’ Association & Surrounding Areas Facebook group had mixed reactions to the sale.

Lorraine Finkelstein said, “Thank goodness that eyesore is now sold and can be demolished.”

While Simone Williams said, “Shame, these are Ronnie Quibell’s legacy. Quibell brought out
Tina Turner, 4 Tops, Johnny Holliday and many other international performers in his heyday. It was a cinema, ice rink, nursery, film studio etc. The only entertainment in the south. We don’t need
another destructive shopping mall. We need theatre, films, libraries and art galleries for community building.”

Rapfund Investments is a long-term investor in commercial property. It is a subsidiary of Folkes Holdings, a UK family company established more than 300 years
ago.