Durban Film City

Durban’s Film City  is a R7bn-plus project not unlike Hollywood’s legendary Universal Studios CityWalk but with a strong local community interface. To be built at the Natal Command site, the existing building is classified as “heritage” and so it will remain, but now it will house contemporary lifestyle coffee shops and the like. Flanking it will be a luxury hotel – a Taj Group hotel is one contender – and serviced apartments. Behind these will be a series of interleading precincts with specific functions: retail, commercial, public spaces and the studios themselves.

There will even be a Walk of Fame, a street where visiting stars and celebrities will be commemorated with a star on the pavement and encouraged to leave behind their footprints and handprints as a tourist attraction. Here South African stars will be celebrated alongside international celebrities.

There will also be Markets of the World: organic, floating, and traditional Indian, African and Chinese. A safe, clean, colourful environment for shoppers, vendors and entrepreneurs, and an art component for artists who lack facilities: a working art studio with a business advice service. There will be demonstrations, exhibitions and walkabouts. And at the heart of the development, the massive film studios.

Film City is to offer themed movies, with buskers, graffiti and artist’s sculptures in the grounds. There are plans for a vast green open park for music concerts or family picnicking, a big screen for major sporting events, a South African film industry museum, studio tours and a host of other interactive spaces and experiences.

Adapted from Neighbourhood, Sunday Times.