Art Deco commercial building sold in heart of Cape Town to undergo refurbishment

An iconic, landmark Art Deco building, 50 on Long Street in the heart of Cape Town CBD, which was recently sold for R37 million in a transaction brokered by Annenberg Property Group, is to undergo a complete interior refurbishment.

Situated in a prime location on the corner of Hout and vibrant Long Street, this freestanding commercial building comprises a gross lettable area of 3 075sqm incorporating ground floor retail plus six storeys of commercial office space and a penthouse apartment. 

Tenants will be able to customise the office space to their own exact business requirements. The building will include 24-hour security, a standby generator, CCTV and access control and will be fibre optic ready. The location is on MyCiti bus routes in a popular and dynamic area which is home to a large selection of restaurants, cafes and art galleries.

Says Lyall Johnson, Annenberg property broker who concluded the deal on behalf of the seller: “A Heritage building, the property has been acquired by a Cape Town based investor who will refurbish and re-tenant the site and may in the future use a portion of the building for one of his own enterprises. Sport & Surf, which is located in the ground floor retail space and has been trading there for over 10 years, will remain a tenant.

“Not surprisingly the property attracted a great deal of interest in the marketplace. There is a huge demand for properties of this nature in Cape Town CBD, whether for office use, pure investment or residential conversions. The building is exactly what the buyer was seeking. We were briefed in terms of what he was looking for and sourced the correct property which aligned with his requirements.”

All the internal areas of 50 on Long Street will be refurbished to a AAA grade standard, including common and office areas, lifts and air conditioning as well as a new reception fronting on to Long Street which replaces the existing entrance off Hout Street. The aesthetic of the building will include the use of timber, stone and panelling detail in the reception, with black steel cottage pane shop fronts on all office levels. Completion of the refurbishment project is anticipated for August this year.

Says Andries Louw, a director of Annenberg Property Group: “The property has good ‘bones’ and lends itself well to the creation of a modern offering that will appeal to the tenant mix targeted. Currently the market is seeing a significant amount of buyers, mostly investors or developers, who are seeking opportunities such as this with sound potential.

“Generally, owner occupiers are looking at smaller sectional title opportunities which are few and far between. As a result, there is a wide range of tenants out there from attorneys, accountants and architects as well as small tech companies and designers seeking modern space with the character that this kind of building provides once refurbished. The refurbished office space will be marketed at competitive asking rentals of R130 per square metre.”

Cape Town CBD continues to experience considerable investment as evidenced by the number of redevelopments, including mixed-use offices and retail in the near vicinity along Long and Loop Streets.

From a business, investment, residential and entertainment perspective Cape Town’s central city comes out tops, says Louw. “Wesgro recently announced that the International Congress and Convention Association has rated the Mother City as number one in Africa for convention business and among the top 40 global destinations for business tourism.

“Investor confidence in the city continues to run high as evidenced in a recent report by the Cape Town Central City Improvement District, which reveals a thriving and vibrant area characterised by constant revitalisation and currently enjoying an average occupancy in commercial property of 91 percent.

“With hospitality, finance and business services as key drivers of the local economy,  investment in real estate in the area continues apace, with a host of new developments and projects recently completed such as the state-of-the-art Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital in the Foreshore Precinct. What brings home the sustained, major investor confidence in the Cape Town central city is the fact that between 2016 and 2020 this area will enjoy huge investment in excess of R12 billion in a broad range of developments either under construction, undergoing refurbishment or in the planning and proposal stages.”

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