Modernist design landmark evolves into iconic residential-hotel development

“You can have any colour as long as it’s black,” said Henry Ford of his Model T car – and proof that black never goes out of fashion is found in the keen interest in exceptional new apartments and penthouses at The Onyx on Cape Town’s foreshore.

Boutique developer Signatura is evolving Nedbank’s timelessly-elegant, black glass and steel modernist head office into a sophisticated and stylish residential and hospitality development.

Attracted by outstanding design, convenient central city location and a suite of services usually available only in a luxurious hotel, the development of the iconic landmark is attracting buyers ranging from seasoned investors to young professionals. The official launch takes place today, 22 June 2017.

True to their brand yet surpassing previous developments, this upmarket conversion builds on Signatura’s pioneering upscaling of another central city landmark, the Safmarine building.  That now houses 167 sectional title apartments and penthouses, part of the R1.2 billion residential and hotel development known as The Radisson Blu Hotel and Residence.

“Investors have been astounded at the inclusion of a Jaguar F-Pace SUV when one buys an Onyx penthouse,” says Signatura founder John Rabie. ”But we are particularly proud of the fact that we offer all purchasers access to a suite of amenities and services usually restricted to an exclusive hotel.

“The Onyx will raise the standard of design excellence and service to a level that can only be meaningfully compared with landmark apartments in New York, London and Paris.”

Buyers can choose from 35 m² studios to expansive penthouses of over 400 m² with roof gardens and private pools. Prices start at R1,7 million and the project is being jointly developed with Nedbank Corporate and Investment Bank.

“We are delighted to be involved in a partnership project with an associate of Nedbank CIB’s calibre,” says Rabie. “Their business vision and strategic, integrated approach have enabled Signatura to offer new levels of quality and value.”

In addition, outstanding hospitality and management services will be provided by the Newmark Hotels, Reserves and Lodges Group.

Newmark’s portfolio of upmarket properties already includes three hotels in the V&A Waterfront – the Queen Victoria, Victoria and Alfred and Dock House Boutique Hotel and Spa ? plus lodges in the Timbavati and Mpumalanga, the Drostdy Hotel in Graaff-Reinet, Chuini Zanzibar beach lodge, and more.

Signatura Director David Cohen says: “The Onyx investors have been beguiled by stunning harbour, V&A Waterfront and mountain views, while the location in the cultural heart of the historic Heerengracht precinct offers easy access to shops, restaurants and a brand new Virgin Active gym just meters away.

“This combination of rich history with modern design and lifestyle amenities is extremely appealing to those in search of the best of contemporary Cape Town living.”

The building’s exterior and interior will evolve under the direction of Robert Silke & Partners, architects of investment services group Citadel’s new granite head office in Claremont, Cape Town. Previously, at Louis Karol Architects, Silke had a pivotal role in projects such as Chevron’s award-winning national headquarters in Century City and the residential conversion of Old Mutual’s former art deco headquarters.

“The shallow floor plates and large expanses of glass make this A-grade corporate icon perfect for residential conversion,” says Silke.

Following the regeneration of the building, a marble-clad ground floor foyer will lead to a new coffee shop and bistro. There will be three floors of secure parking above this.

The fourth floor will house a gym, outdoor cross-training track, bar and entertainment area, day spa with sauna, plus a heated indoor-outdoor pool for year-round swimming.  An outdoor sundeck with a breath-taking backdrop of harbour and Table Mountain views will offer the ultimate in relaxation.

Floors five and six will consist entirely of apartments managed by Newmark as hotel accommodation, with floors seven to ten each comprising 35 studio, one- and two-bedroom sectional title apartments. Floor 11 will host nine two- and three-bedroom penthouses.

Contemporary living

It’s said that people who choose black lead colourful lives, and the apartments will provide the perfect background of timeless quality combined with wow-factor features.

Original architectural detailing and high volume ceilings will be complemented by herringbone oak finish flooring in living areas and kitchens; Smeg appliances; silver-grey walls and super-matte white built-in cupboards with black trims. The understated elegance of black powder-coated taps, mixers and accessories will be offset against classic white ceramic tiles.
Valet parking and 24-hour concierge services, housekeeping, laundry, room service, and optional participation in a hotel-managed rental pool are available too.

In the penthouses (reached by a private lift), every terrace and rooftop garden will offer a private pool and wrap-around views. 

‘Armani black’ engineered stone tops, grey mirror splashbacks and environmentally-sustainable oak herringbone floors will be standard. Fully-integrated aesthetic appliances in the kitchens will include Smeg ultra-luxurious Dolce Stil Novo ovens. Bathrooms will feature freestanding bathtubs and rose-gold taps, mixers and accessories.

 “It’s a winning combination of position, quality and lifestyle,” says Cohen. “You can order breakfast in your bedroom before departing for a meeting, then leave room service to tidy up before you welcome visitors that evening to cocktails followed by dinner downstairs. When travelling on business or holiday to another Newmark hotel or lodge, this will be billed to your monthly account.”

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