Fire breaks out at derelict building

The derelict property which used the Ivory Room.

Businesses surrounding the old Ivory Room nightclub, at 210 Loop Street, are fed up with the conditions of the now derelict property, which has been vacant for several years.

In the latest incident, a fire broke out on Sunday November 6.

Fire and Rescue services spokeswoman Liezl Moodie said the cause of the fire was unknown, and no one was injured.

The fire was just another irritation for business owners in the vicinity, who say the building is an eyesore on a street that is being rejuvenated.

The business owners who the CapeTowner spoke to did not want to be named out of fear for their safety.

One business owner said the state of the building is terrible. “A month ago there was also a fire. We call the police often because people enter and exit the premises all the time. Who knows what goes on there at night?”

Another business owner, who also did not want to be named, said she sees at least 20 people going in and out of the premises every day, as it has been left open.

“It is unsafe in the evening. I wouldn’t walk around here alone. Maybe they deal here and other dangerous things, I don’t know.”

A couple who works nearby said the fire could have been started by people living in the building.

When the CapeTowner visited the site, there was a sign on the front door which said; “Private. Keep Out”.

The front entrance gate was closed but the front door stood open, revealing the debris left behind by the fire.

Muneeb Hendricks, the security manager for the Cape Town Central City Improvement District (CCID), said: “Regular complaints are received by the CCID in terms of this particular building being occupied unlawfully and attracting a criminal element. When complaints are received, we, in turn, alert our law enforcement partners at the City and SAPS, as activity that happens within private property is outside the jurisdiction of the CCID.

“We have also brought the matter to the attention of various City departments in an attempt to facilitate discussions, have assisted in cleaning up outside of the premises, and are in contact with local stakeholders to encourage them to be aware of and report activities in the building.

“We unfortunately do not know at this stage what the plans for this building are going forward, particularly in light of the recent fire, but we are aware that numerous attempts have been made by the owner to secure the premises. It is regularly boarded up but forced entry continues.”

JP Smith, the mayoral committee member for safety and security, said the City was aware of the situation.

“City officials had a meeting with the owners and are working with them.”