Mixed-use development is changing Cape Town’s city landscape

Mixed use developments are no longer an emergent trend in Cape Town; they have become a firmly established feature of the city’s architectural landscape, especially in the CBD where two more developments are already in the planning stage and five new proposals are currently on the drawing board.

The Verge in Sea Point is a successful synthesis of residential, commercial and hospitality components with a drive through-restaurant at ground level, long-term rental apartments on the first four floors and short term holiday accommodation on the top floors.
Chad Shapiro, Senior Commercial Broker for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty in the CBD, City Bowl and on the Atlantic Seaboard says: “The concept really took hold in Cape Town prior to the 2010 world Cup when several mixed use buildings were constructed in and around the city, including The Mirage on Hudson Street in De Waterkant which was recently voted as the best development in Cape Town and The Icon Centre in the Foreshore with over 80 apartments, three floors of offices, and a shopping centre on the ground floor.
‘We are now seeing more of these developments being built along the Atlantic Seaboard in Green Point, Sea Point and the V&A Waterfront as well as in Vredehoek in the City Bowl.
He adds that mixed use buildings are a significant element of Sea Point’s ongoing upgrade, with prominent projects including the extensive redevelopment of The Ritz Hotel worth more than R100 million that includes a new high end retail component and the old ‘Nedbank’ Building at the end of Main Road.
“We have seen that the real estate sector as a whole has benefitted from the balanced combination of fixed and variable tenants who are increasingly less dependent on location and tourism.”
Brendan Miller, Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty Atlantic Seaboard and City Bowl CEO, says: “Mixed use developments offer a cornucopia of benefits to both residents and businesses, not least the convenience of everything in one place that is an increasingly appealing factor to buyers.
“Cape Town’s swelling population has exacerbated traffic congestion during peak hours, significantly extending commuting time between the city and the suburbs and people are no longer willing to spend hours in a car every day.
“Instead, people can live, work and play in one neighbourhood as they are within walking distance of myriad amenities, including their places of work.”
Miller adds that many of these properties also cater to residents’ essential needs by incorporating retail components, restaurants, gym facilities and often also offices.
Lew Geffen, Chairman of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty says that an increasing number of Capetonians are beginning to recognise the value of exchanging their suburban homes for the convenience of city living.
“Correctly priced apartments are, almost without exception, snapped up within four to six weeks of being listed.
“The growing investor confidence is further evidenced by the fact that some developers are now renting out new fully furnished apartments in anticipation that the value of these properties will continue to grow exponentially, underpinned by a strong rental market.”
Shapiro says: “For many years, the price point for residential property on The Atlantic Seaboard was a lot higher than in the City Bowl and CBD, but this gap has narrowed considerably in recent years, with city pricing now almost in line with that of Sea Point and Green Point.”
Cape Town Central City Improvement District (CCID) statistics from in a survey conducted in the last quarter of 2015 revealed that owner-occupied residential properties in the CBD increased from 47% in 2014 to 52% in 2015, while 73% of the survey respondents lived within 3km of their work or place of study.
Rob Kane, Chairperson of the CCID, says: “Although city residents still fall primarily within the 25 to 34-year-old age group, there has recently been a notable spike in interest from investors in the 35 to 44-year age bracket.
“The survey further established that the top reason cited for living in the CBD is proximity to work, and the top category of profession among those surveyed this year is Media, Marketing and Publishing, followed by Creative Industries and the Financial Sector.”
Shapiro concludes: “We are constantly looking for stand-alone homes in these areas that have commercial rights or that offer subdivision to meet the rampantly growing demand for residential and commercial development in these prime areas.”

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