Proposed leasing of ‘Senza’ property holds many benefits

Knysna’s Council has resolved to call for proposals for the expression of interest to use, manage and control a portion of Erf 1406 on the eastern head of Knysna. The site, which previously housed the Senza, Cornutis and Paquita restaurants, has been vacant since November 2017.

Acting Municipal Manager Dawid Adonis said that the long-term rental of the property holds many exciting economic benefits for both the local community and the municipality. “The successful bidder will be responsible for the repair and maintenance of the building. And, once a restaurant is operational on site, it will create many new employment opportunities.”

Located nearest to the Knysna eastern head, a natural heritage site, and right on the waters of the channel between the Knysna lagoon and the Indian Ocean, the site is a tourism hotspot. “Under the current economic climate it is vital that our tourism industry receives all the support it can,” said Adonis. “A successful restaurant in this unique location will be an important drawcard in attracting visitors to Greater Knysna, and increasing their spend throughout the area.”

A previous call for interest was cancelled as no responders met the requisite functionality criteria. Should a bid under the new call for interest be successful, the municipality will enter into a long-term, 20 year lease agreement with the applicant.

“Entering into a long-term agreement is important for the successful bidder, the municipality and the tourism industry at large,” Adonis explained. “The new tenant is granted the time to realise a real return on their investment of refurbishing the property; the municipality generates an income from a market related rental fee; and the tourism industry – and the local economy – benefits from the trickle-down effect of customers’ related spend.”

The municipality will control the management of the property in such a way that access to the surrounding natural heritage site will not be limited or denied in any way. “It is important that, while we move towards making the most of our commercial assets, we do not lose sight of or diminish the value of our natural assets,” Adonis concluded. “It is, after all, the preservation of the incredible natural qualities of this particular site that can only enhance its commercial potential.”