WP Cricket announces R750m Newlands upgrade

Cape Town - Western Province Cricket on Friday announced plans to upgrade Newlands in a first phase project that is set to cost the union R750 million

The development will see four new office blocks erected on the northern precinct of the stadium which will be leased out for office space, according to Cape Cobras CEO Nabeal Dien. 

Sanlam will be funding 51% of the development while WP Cricket themselves must raise the funds for the other 49%

Varsity College have committed to occupying one of the buildings and will account for around 40% of the area. 

The first phase is expected to end in December 2020. 

"There are still some sensitive agreements that we are busy concluding," Dien said.

"This is a journey that started around 10 years ago and the main purpose of this journey was the sustainability of cricket."

"We only occupy revenue-generating opportunities on certain days of the year ... so here is an opportunity to create a 365-day opportunity."

The long-term plan, and phases two and three, will see upgrades to the WP Cricket offices as well as presidents pavilion that will take the project into 2024. 

The news last week that Cricket South Africa (CSA) was considering implementing a bidding process where cities and unions would bid for home internationals would have been a concern for WP Cricket given their commitment to the development. 

The New Year's Test at Newlands is easily the biggest money-spinner for the union each year, but implementation of the proposal would have allowed any city with enough money to host that fixture. 

According to Dien, however, that proposal has now been scrapped from CSA's plans. 

"I can inform you that it was retracted yesterday," Dien said of the proposal. 

"Thankfully that has happened, because I think that would have been absurd.

"There are certain things that you can bid for and there are certain things that are already established premier and marquee events."

While the commitment will take the union into significant debt, Dien is confident that enough research has been done to generate enough funds moving forward.

"I don't think we would have gone into this, and neither would Sanlam, unless we saw a viable outcome," he said.