R1-Billion luxury development takes downtown Cape Town upmarket

The face and fortune of Cape Town’s lower CBD is set for a sea change with the development of a R1-billion first of its kind five star hotel and apartment block combo in one of the city’s architectural masterpieces.

John Rabie (right) of Signatura and property owner Shaun Rai view plans of the Radisson Hotel and Residence, Cape Town from one of the penthouse balconies.
Construction and remodelling of the former Safmarine building, will be completed by the end of next year, and will see it transformed into the luxurious Radisson Blu Hotel and Residence, Cape Town, with 11 floors of executive apartments filling the top half of the building. The lower half of the building will become one of the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group’s flagship city developments.
The project is the brainchild of veteran developer John Rabie, and property owner Shaun Rai. Rabie, the non-executive chairman of Rabie Properties, masterminded the multi-billion rand Century City and Westlake developments.
In the past two years, through his Signatura label, Rabie’s Midas touch saw the rejuvenation of 19 buildings throughout the City and Atlantic Seaboard, providing sought-after apartments and boosting the property values in their respective areas. These stylish new apartment blocks were developed in response to the overwhelming demand from SA’s growing upper middle class for luxury living close to the city and by the ocean.
Rai is the founding director and member of various successful property investment companies.  He is Acting CEO of JSE listed Ascension Property Fund Limited which at the date of the last published interim financial results in December 2014 had achieved a total return of 73.7% and 82.6% on it’s A- linked units and B-linked units respectively. Rai’s Stonehill Property Fund acquired the building from Old Mutual in July 2014.
“Although the Cape Town City Centre is well known to be open for business, it is increasingly becoming a very sought-after home address,” says John Rabie of Signatura, the private label developer responsible for the project.
According to the latest statistics from the Central City Improvement District, residential property worth R296 million was sold in the CBD in 2014, with average prices rising from R1.3 to R1.55 million from the year before. And there has been a steady increase in the City’s population figures, from 5000 in 2011 to 6000 last year. 191 residential properties were sold last year, up from 132 in 2012.
The Radisson Blu Hotel and Residence, Cape Town will provide a unique opportunity in the market, with owners of the 166 executive apartments able to add their properties to the hotel rental pool, and also receive a tax incentive as their properties are located in an Urban Development Zone.
The executive apartments, which are being developed in partnership with Rai, represents the pinnacle for Signatura, established in 2011 as a private label development company. 
Situated on the corner of Riebeek and Long, the property is located at the start of Cape Town’s world-famous Fan Walk, and is just under a 10 minute walk away from the Waterfront. Part of its attraction is the easy access to public transport with the MyCiti bus stop close by to connect residents directly with the airport and surrounding suburbs.
Owners of the 166 executive apartments will not only be able to lay claim to unarguably the best views in town, but also to the full range of amenities and services offered by the hotel. These include the use of the pool and bar areas, access to the concierge and meeting rooms, room service as well as the restaurant and buffets. All apartments are fitted with air-conditioning, imported Italian kitchens, SMEG appliances and energy-efficient LED lighting throughout.
And the lights will always be on, with a backup generator servicing the entire building.
“The apartments will be particularly attractive to international executives and local businesspeople who want to stay in Cape Town and have the V&A Waterfront, with its top restaurants and shops, as well as the Cape Town International Convention centre on their doorstep,” says Rabie.
“And the building’s high-speed fibre connectivity will certainly make business more of a pleasure when working from home.”
Rai says the building will also have 24-hour manned security to ensure the safety of all residents as well as private parking.
“All apartments have dedicated parking bays with one bay for one beds and two bays for two beds – a big plus in a city where parking comes at a premium.”
Rai adds that the existing architecture made it perfect for conversion from office space to apartments.
A team of architects and interior designers, including Juan Bernicchi Architects, DHK Architects and Source Brand Interior Architects, took great care to make optimal use of the unique opportunities inherent in the building, he says.
“Because of the unique nature of the building’s floor plate, all units have external windows, so we did not have to do much in terms of structural adjustment. The final product is a beautiful collection of apartments awash with natural light,” he says.
“This also means that all apartments will have the most magnificent views, with the environment outside integrating with the exquisite design and luxury inside to offer unprecedented allure for prospective buyers, who will live on top of the world, literally,” says Rai.
Rabie says that all the great cities in the world – from New York to London and Paris to Sydney – offer the kind of high-end residential city developments that The Radisson Blu Hotel and Residence, Cape Town, will be the first to achieve locally.
“This will undoubtedly provide a fantastic boost to the local economy, and invigorate the downtown in a way in which it has never come alive before. Additionally, much-needed accommodation opportunities will come on to the market for tourists visiting the city.
“For the past few years, Cape Town’s tourism has been growing regardless of seasonality, and supply has steadily been unable to match demand.”
As an additional bonus, Rabie says owners will be able to add their apartments to the hotel rental pool, and also receive a tax benefit as the development is situated in a UDZ, which provides a tax deduction equal to 30% of the value of the apartment over five years.
“The Radisson Blue Hotel and Residence, Cape Town will place Cape Town firmly on the map of the world’s first class travellers and business executives, providing an unprecedented lifestyle investment. This is what the city has been missing – a true world-class apartment building,” Rabie says.
The executive apartments launch on May 26 and units start at 40 Sqm. Penthouses are between 150-160 Sqm with 12-24 Sqm terraces. Prices start at R1.63m.

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