Much has been written in the media over the past year about the success of the Cape Town CBD, according to Rob Kane, Chairperson of the Cape Town Central City Improvement District (CCID.)
“So much so,” says Kane, “that we’re being touted as an ‘overnight success story’ with development of nearly R3.5bn in the pipeline.”
Speaking at a business breakfast held on Thursday 4 June that was largely attended by property companies involved in investment and development, Kane said: “People are asking why, suddenly, is the CBD so popular? Why are we suddenly seeing so much investment happening here and why, now, do so many people want to come to live here?”
The overnight success, noted Kane, has been one that’s been 15 years in the making. In November this year, the Cape Town Central City Improvement District will celebrate 15 years in operation, while its next five-year business plan begins on 1 July.
Thanking the CCID’s partners at the City of Cape Town and Central City property owners for the confidence they had shown in the area, Kane felt that “together, we’ve laid a solid foundation over the past decade and a half, and now investors are voting for the CBD with their rands and developments are rising from this foundation.”
At the CCID’s last business breakfast, held in 2014 in the then newly opened Portside building, an attempt had been made to predict how the skyline of the CBD would continue to change over the course of the next five years.
But this was something now quite difficult to do, said Kane: “Because investment and development are truly catalysing the Cape Town CBD. They are enabling us to transform, and what’s happening in the CBD today really is akin to the science of chemistry – the bringing together of elements that together form a reaction far greater than the sum of their parts.”
Each year the CCID publishes a guide – The State of Cape Town Central City Report – that looks back at the previous year in terms of assessing the economic climate of the CBD.
“At this event a year ago,” said Kane, “we had just released the 2013 report, and noted that the value of property in the CBD, according to the City’s official property valuations for the 2013/14 financial year, stood at around R24bn.”
It was also noted at the time that, in addition to this R24bn and the R1.6bn Portside building that had just opened, there was approximately another R3.4bn in the pipeline somewhere between construction and planning to come online within the next five years.
However, while compiling the latest report (2014: A year in review) the CCID’s research team documented a further R1.46bn worth of development underway or on the cards.
“And astonishingly,” noted Kane, “between the release of the 2014 report and today, we now have conservatively seen another R1.95bn of investment that has been announced in just the past three months. I say ‘conservatively’ as there are some investments and refurbishments whose figures we have not yet been revealed by developers.”
The new confirmed investments included:
- A R70m upgrade by the Department of Public Works to the Master of the High Court building in Albertus St.
- A new R200m residential development called The Sentinel on the corner of Loop and Leeuwen streets being developed by the Nova Group in association with the Dogon Group.
- Tsogo Sun’s development of the SunSquare and StayEasy hotels on the site of the old Tulip Hotel in Bree Street, totalling R680m.
- The transformation of the old Triangle House in Riebeek Street into a R1 billon residential and hotel development, a collaboration announced by Radisson and Signatura just last week, to be opened by September next year.
Said Kane, “A year ago, we predicted that residential property would be the new wave of development, and we are thrilled in particular to see this happening as demand has significantly now outstripped supply in the Central City. And we think that people wanting to live here and be closer to their places of work and play is the biggest thumbs up any CBD can receive in terms of catalysing a downtown area.
“Add to this the growing accolades we are receiving as a city in which to do business, and we are reminded how important a strong CBD is for the metropole as a whole.”