Amazon on the verge of abandoning Cape Town office complex project


E-commerce giant Amazon is reportedly growing tired with delays to the completion of the US$271.8 (R4.6 billion) multi-purpose complex in Cape Town.

Further delays could see Amazon terminating the developer agreement, which would force the developer to scrap the entire project.

MyBroadband reports that  in March 2022, the Western Cape High Court ordered all work at the construction site be stopped because the developer Liesbeek Leisure Property Trust (LLPT) had not conducted meaningful consultation with impacted First Nations people, who regard the development area as sacred land.

The developer subsequently applied for leave to appeal, but the High Court dismissed the application in a May 2022 ruling, and according to the Sunday Times the developer this week filed an affidavit with the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) to overturn the order.

According to the LLPT affidavit, further delays could push the work back between 12 to 24 months which would likely lead to the Amazon Development Centre (ADC) terminating both the developer and lease agreements.

The affidavit further states that failure by the LLPT to complete construction and lease commencement by the agreed-upon dates could result in a delay penalty fee of R450,000 payable to Amazon per day that the project is behind schedule.

LLPT claims that the Goringhaicona Khoi Khoin Traditional Council (GKKTC) and Observatory Civic Association have no legitimate claim over the intangible heritage of the broader Two Rivers area in which the River Club development was built and also that they also have no standing within the First Nations community.

It also maintains the opponents had failed to demonstrate any intangible cultural heritage resource that decision makers in the development’s approval had not identified and assessed and that they failed to show the inadequacy of the wide-ranging protection mechanisms included in the respective conditions of approval.

The development, which LLPT claims will create over 6,000 direct jobs and 19,000 indirect jobs, has also received the backing of the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape provincial government, both of which are applying to the SCA for leave to appeal the halting of construction.


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