Perdeby spoke to Redefine Properties, the company that owns the property and is facilitating the renovation. Mike Ruttell, executive director of development at Redefine Properties stated that, “A key pillar of Redefine’s strategy is to redevelop and revitalise existing properties on a demand-driven basis. Hatfield Square was identified as one of these projects due to the high demand for student housing within Hatfield prescient.” Ruttell then explained that, given that the property was identified as a potential project which can be developed, demolition had begun on the buildings. The demolition and renovation will be done in two phases. The first phase will be completed by the end of 2016 and the second phase will be completed by the end of 2017.
Ruttell further commented on the planned development, saying, “Approximately 1600 student rooms (2200 beds) will be developed. The scheme will also comprise [of] various high-end retail offerings, including a gym [and] creating a safe environment for students to eat, play, and live.”
There has been a lot of uncertainty about the future of the Square since last year. Photos of the demolition and reconstruction of Hatfield Square have been circulating around social media recently, with many people commenting “R.I.P. Hatfield Square”.
Rowan Naidoo, a third-year BCom student, said that, due to the shortage of student accommodation in Hatfield, the good thing about the Square being turned into accommodation was that more students could be accommodated with ease.
Rowan added that the down side to the accommodation was that it would probably be very expensive due to being so close to the university.
“On the other hand, students no longer have a place to socialise now that Square is gone”, he added.
Tinotenda Kakora, a second-year LLB student, said that, “I think it’s a bad idea to turn it into [accommodation] because Hatfield Square was part of the attraction of coming to UP.”