Blue chip tenants relocating head offices to redeveloped Northgate Park

On track for completion in July (2015), the redevelopment and upgrading of what was formerly known as Northgate Island into Northgate Park – a high profile A-grade office space with its own green urban park on a prime site adjacent to the N1 in Brooklyn, Cape Town - is attracting blue chip tenants.

View of Northgate Park in Cape Town which is being redeveloped into a vibrant A-grade office park.

Apart from Moore Stephens ‘ Cape Town operation – part of a major global accounting and consulting network and well-known national brand Vida e Caffe, which have already signed up as key tenants, now the national head office of Weylandts Furniture and homeware stores is set to take up occupation in this vibrant and innovative development.

“The easy access to both Northern and Southern Suburbs of Cape Town as well as the City Bowl area coupled with the value proposition clinched the relocation of our head office from Century City to this prime location,” says Dale Kohlberg, director of Moore Stephens, which relocates its regional head office in phases from the third quarter of the year (2015), occupying 3000sqm of space comprising the entire second floor of block 2, as well as taking up a further 2000sqm in Northgate Park for the purposes of sub-letting and/or future expansion.

“The move was a natural decision for us and part of our growth strategy, enabling us to accommodate our rapidly expanding business while opportunely positioning us in a key node in convenient proximity for client and staff members. This is great office space which will allow us to distinguish ourselves in the marketplace and help define our own point of differentiation,” he says.

Vida e caffè, whose head office was formerly housed in Boulevard Office Park in Woodstock, has already relocated their head office and roastery, virtually doubling their previous accommodation and occupying 1250sqm in total. Grant Dutton, CEO of Vida e caffè, says their flagship roastery becomes fully functional by the end of July, offering tours, tasting sessions and presentations as well as actually roasting vida’s current supply from the facility.

“Furthermore, after much success on high street and convenience locations such as Shell forecourts, we will also be opening a Torrador concept store as well as a full sit-down vida e caffè that will incorporate a full kitchen and working bar – certainly not the norm for us but we are excited to trial this in the office environment, and in such a dynamic environment. We wanted to be part of this visionary turnaround project.”

BMI, a data provision company, moved into Northgate Park in May, capitalising on the opportunity to expand their business premises at competitive rates and on main transport routes.

Taking up the entire 2000sqm second floor of block 3, referred to as ‘The Penthouse’, with massive glass windows and sweeping views, Weylandts is the most recent tenant to lease space, relocating their head office from Durbanville on 1 August. “We wanted a central location and to be closer to Cape Town, coupled with the fact that we had also seriously outgrown our current premises. We have tripled our office space in response to the rapid growth in our staff complement as part of our national and international expansion. We are also creating an incredible working environment for our staff, to ensure that our workspace reflects our brand philosophy. This highlights the importance of the spaces we inhabit and the positive impact these have on our productivity and the wellbeing of our staff,” says Chris Weylandt, CEO and founder of Weylandts.

“The environments in which we live and work are fundamental to our wellbeing  and impact heavily on output. Our retail spaces are spacious sanctuaries, filled with natural light and showcasing beautiful product - this is the feeling we want to create in our working environment. The lines between home and office are blurring, so we seek to create an office environment that fuels innovation and in a sense ‘feels’ like home. I am confident that the level of productivity and wellbeing of our team in this new space will be elevated. We will be doing the complete design in-house, applying the Weylandts philosophy to the work space.  Furthermore, part of the expansion programme is the launch of our new design division, which will be very active with workshops and presentations to clients, all taking place in our new premises.”

Following the acquisition of the property for R110 million by a joint venture between Aria Property Group (formerly known as Arbitrage Property Fund) and Buffet Investment Services, Northgate Park is being redeveloped at a further cost of approximately R30 million. It will incorporate expansive and open spaces with high ceilings, large floor plates with very few columns and floor to ceiling glass windows creating a trendy and modern, light industrial ambience. It will also include a green urban park with a difference – a ‘Skycatcher’ concept comprising a facade of vertical greenery with a pool and amphitheatre creating an aerial gallery and unique breakaway space.

Says Ilan Kaplan, MD of Aria Property Group: “The project is well into the construction phase with all heavy work completed and all the square windows punched into the facades, completely changing the outlook and appearance through this salient design feature of the complex.

“The roof overhands are being removed to give the structures a more refined, office look, while several of the units have been reconfigured and combined to create the large spaces which have been taken up by tenants. There has also been some reconfiguration of common areas as well as the addition of facilities for tenants, which will soon be launched.

“The high visibility and proximity of Northgate Park to highways leading to all major routes, high allocation of parking bays and competitive rental and parking rates have been well received by the marketplace. We are currently in the process of negotiating with a variety of tenants who are looking at filling some of the remaining space.”

He adds:  “Landscaping is also progressing well, which will maximise the overall end result. In regard to ‘green’ initiatives during the construction process, we are implementing a range of measures to achieve best practice. This includes repurposing of rubble and plants on site as well as recycling of unusable materials. I am very excited at seeing this project coming together as we conceptually envisaged it.  When prospective – and subsequently new tenants have visited us on site, they tell us the uniqueness of the space speaks for itself.”

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