New Panorama Healthcare Centre a further catalyst for growth of medical node

The newly completed Panorama Healthcare Centre in Cape Town’s Northern Suburbs has already become an iconic landmark and highly accessible key facility for local residents and visitors in an area which has rapidly emerged as a burgeoning medical node, attracting a host of related services and businesses.

So says Dudley Annenberg, MD of Annenberg Property Group, developers of Panorama Healthcare Centre in conjunction with Anglo African Estates, with cutting edge design by well-known architect Chris Bam.

“Strategically well positioned and synonymous with health-related and ancillary support services, we identified this node and specifically this prime location on the corner of Rothschild Boulevard and Hennie Winterbach Street in Panorama as ideal for this prime development.”

Located adjacent to Mediclinic Panorama and replacing a former 2 500sqm run-down shopping centre, the new Panorama Healthcare Centre provides a complementary boost to an existing medical hub in the immediate vicinity.

With ample on-site parking accessed via Hennie Winterbach Street, this contemporary, striking three-storey development includes a varied range of tenants that offer a bouquet of medical offerings to the public. Hospital staff and tenants are pleased to see the return of a retail and lifestyle component which caters for their needs as well as those of patients and visitors.

One of the anchor tenants is Origin Maternity Hospital, the first privately owned natural birth centre in the Western Cape, which brings a whole new dimension to the birth experience. Origin’s chief operations officer Sydney Grove says the new hospital has many truly original features - the most important of which is providing the option to give birth with a midwife in a family-focused environment, yet with all the right medical back-up.

“This is the first boutique birth hospital specialising in a maternity care model found nowhere else in South Africa, where midwives and obstetricians work hand in hand. We are trailblazing a new direction for midwives in this country.

“Internationally it is known that midwives are the experts in natural birth, and at Origin women labour under the guidance of a midwife with whom they have established a relationship during pregnancy. It is not just a new baby who is being born, it is also a new mother, new father and new family. This should take place in a setting where they feel safe and warm and are not just a number, and where medical interventions are limited and not over-used. Here family members and birth attendants are welcome.

“The hospital has 16 beds including 10 birthing rooms. Our labour, delivery, postnatal  and recovery rooms – until now unknown in South Africa – mean you can stay in one suite where the baby is delivered and you receive postnatal care, and where your partner and even another child can stay over, and from there you go home. The decor of all our rooms is beautiful and comfortable, unlike any other hospital in the country.”

Origin also has six birthing baths, as they believe that mobility and relaxation assists in facilitating birth. It is also the only hospital on the African continent to have a wireless cardiotocograph machine so it can monitor the baby’s heart continuously if needed, while the mother is mobile or even in the birth bath, since it is also waterproof. The hospital also has a caesarean section theatre for when such a procedure is necessary. Called a ‘sensitive section’ it has subdued lighting and all is carried out scientifically and safely, but in a sensitive way. Origin also offers wellness programmes (teenage, well mother, well baby, well woman and family health) as well as full antenatal and postnatal care. The hospital collaborates with a full multidisciplinary team that includes blood testing, obstetricians, sonographers and foetal medicine practitioners.

The second floor of Panorama Healthcare Centre is occupied by AltX-listed Advanced Health Panorama Surgical Day Hospital with three minor theatres and 27 beds, while the ground floor is anchored by Intercare, a national primary healthcare centre, with fit-out scheduled for next month (May 2016), when the south wing of the building opens. The balance of the ground floor is let to complementary medical or health practices such as an audiologist, dentist and a medical aesthetics centre.

Supporting retailers on the ground floor are Durbell Pharmacy, Body20 gym, a hairdressing salon and nail bar, Knead coffee shop and bakery, Absa bank and estate agents Engel & Volkers.  On the first floor Fresnius Medical Care offers a state of the art dialysis centre with 35 stations.

The remaining space in the centre is occupied by pathologists, radiologists, physiotherapists, sport science services and medical accounting services. Ground floor and basement parking is provided.

Says Annenberg: “With sweeping views of Table Mountain, there is still space available on the top floor of the building for doctor’s suites or any medical related businesses.”

Architect Chris Bam says the design of Panorama Healthcare Centre not only maximises views towards Table Bay and Table Mountain, utilising fresh architecture and sleek, up to date materials including large expanses of glass, it also creates a vibrant, modern structure which capitalises on its prime position and incorporates a positive streetscape at the front, with its back to the Cape Southeaster.”Using maximum natural light and optimising the rentable space within building it’s been designed to provide spatial flexilibity to accommodate both large and small tenancies.

“The main access and circulation to the building is via an atrium space which brings natural light into the building and creates a central hub from which all the main circulation and services are distributed, dividing the overall building into two distinct wings, fed by lifts and staircases and a horizontal connection. The building has been designed to be easily accessed by pedestrians from Hennie Winterbach Street to the south and from the parking podium to the north from the atrium space entrance.”

Distinctly horizontal with vertical aspects which emphasise the internal circulation nodes on the facades, special attention has been given to the combination use of materials. These include concrete facades juxtaposed with glazed shopfronts and curtain walling with horizontal and vertical aluminium solar fins for heat reduction, while playful use of colour accents and perforated and patterned metal screens  accentuates the bold vertical elements. The overall result is simple yet elegant, modern and trend-setting, reflecting innovative design flare and green design elements.

Construction of Panorama Healthcare Centre is by the NMC Construction Group who completed the 6 700sqm project in November 2015. Construction of the project commenced in June 2014 with a 27 000 cubic metre bulk excavation, 4m deep from ground level. The bulk excavation took place during the rainy winter months which affected progress and caused delays to the programme. Despite the initial delays caused by inclement weather and power outages the project was handed over on time.

Stephen Stander, NMC contracts manager, says the NMC Construction Group is proud to be associated with a project of this calibre. “Good relationships were established between the contractor and the design team, a major contributing factor to the successful outcome of the project.

“The impressive structure is supported by 183 foundation piles and 106 lateral support piles. Two lift shafts constructed in the foyer area service all floors in the building, while the vast glass facades comprising 2 000sqm of double glazing support the green building design philosophy and effectively reduce the building’s overall energy consumption.”

Meticulous construction planning and programming were required in this environmentally sensitive area. Construction methodology had to take cognisance of the location of the site which is situated in the heart of a high traffic medical district, with a technical college neighbouring the site, so the impact of the construction site on the surrounding environment was a key consideration. Noise pollution was managed through scheduling noisy activities during off-peak periods and the site’s high visibility areas were kept neat and clean to ensure public safety.

The scope of works carried out by NMC included a four level structure comprising a basement parking level plus three levels housing tenants. The centre also has 288 parking bays which will bring relief to the parking shortage in the area. The innovative design includes various innovative elements such as a combination of steel hangovers, decorative aluminium frames, plaster work and alcobond finishes seamlessly integrated into the structure.

This is not Annenberg’s first foray into the development of a major medical facility. Approximately three years ago Annenberg Property Group developed a day hospital in School Street in northern Paarl for Cure Day Clinics which soon became a very viable and alternative option for providing quality and affordable health care, particularly as an increasing number of procedures are technically able to be carried out in a day, after which the patient is able to go home.

“We saw the potential to focus on the medical development field as we began receiving enquiries, which saw the start of a wave of day care hospital roll-outs for key stakeholders in the industry. A year after completing the day hospital in Paarl, Annenberg developed an oncology centre and sub-acute facility and pharmacy on the adjacent site, thus creating a meaningful medical node in Paarl.”

Currently Annenberg Property Group is building a similar facility in Hermanus and a 36-bed psychiatric clinic in Pietermaritzburg.

“The proximity of the Panorama Healthcare Centre site to Mediclinic made it ideal for a day care hospital, particularly with the wide variety of medical-related services so close at hand. This node has already become the major medical hub in Cape Town’s Northern Suburbs.”

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