Making Victoria a vibrant Creole capital and an Indian Ocean hub is the goal of a project which will start next year with the first phase, a top planning official said.
Once completed, the Victoria waterfront project will provide Seychellois with a pedestrian-friendly waterfront public meeting point with areas for live entertainment as well as residential and retail spaces.
The project, which is part of the Victoria Masterplan 2040, is one in which the Seychellois will benefit and this is what distinguishes it from similar projects, the chief executive of the Seychelles Planning Authority, Joseph Francois, told SNA.
"The first phase of the development is targeting Seychellois as beneficiary. Apartments will be made available to Seychellois, and retail areas and kiosks will be rented," he said.
Francois added that details about if the apartments will be sold or rented will be discussed thoroughly beginning of next year but the government might lean towards selling them as condominiums. The total cost of the project will be known once all the detailed plans and necessary procedures have been carried out.
Drafting of the detailed plans for the Victoria waterfront project's phase one will start in 2018 and construction will being towards the end of the same year.
The first phase, located at the ex-children's playground along 5th June Avenue, Victoria, consists of the construction of six buildings with multi courtyard apartments and retail units. Covering 23,760 square metres, the ground floor will be dedicated to retailing - food outlets, food courts, restaurants, bistros and bars. The upper floors will be turned into 120 units of one to three bedroom apartments.
Julie Low, the authority's urban planner, said: "The existing temporary bypass road will be turned into the permanent waterfront access road during phase one." She added that this phase will also include construction of a southern bus terminal and multi-storey parking along Latanier Road, Victoria.
Low told SNA that customers coming to the waterfront will have to use the multi-storey parking on the south.
"This will encourage a non-car-dominated development otherwise it will defeat the purpose of creating a pedestrian-friendly waterfront development, getting people to interact," she said.
Later on, a northern bus terminal and multi-storey parking space will also be built at Ile du Port, a reclaimed island on the outskirt of Victoria. The two bus terminals will be connected by a bus loop service, running through the waterfront aimed t encouraging people to use public transport rather than privately owned vehicles in the capital.
As construction of the project starts, tenants of existing building on the land will be relocated.
"Activities organised by SEnPA (Small Enterprise Promotion Agency) will be later on integrated into the completed project," said Low, adding that occupants of the kiosks won't be allowed to sell imported products such as clothes.
Discussions are being held on where these activities will be moved temporarily. Kiosks will be installed along the Waterfront Esplanade and plazas, where vendors will be able to sell local and artisanal products.
Phase two will consists of putting up four mixed-use, multi-block buildings. Contrary to buildings in the first phase, the 60 apartment units will only be on the top floor. Floors below will be offices or allocated for other uses, compatible with retail and residential. The ground floor will retail areas.
The northern waterfront esplanade and green open space will also be developed during this time slot.
The whole Victoria waterfront project, which will cover a total area of over 23 hectares, will be carried out in five phases.