World Design Capital cements Cape Town’s status as a global city

With Cape Town’s year as World Design Capital 2014 (WDC) approaching the three-quarter mark, chief executive of the Pam Golding Property group Dr Andrew Golding says it is clear that the title has helped cement the city’s status as a global cosmopolitan destination. 

Several apartments in Mandela Rhodes Place have been sold in 2014 for over R3 million. The building enjoys views across the city towards Table Mountain.

“This is evident not only in the burgeoning tourism numbers and international accolades being awarded to the city, but also in the sustained and substantial appetite for residential property in the Central City, a sign of confidence in the area’s long-term future as a sought-after residential node,” he says. “Downtown Cape Town now offers a vibrant modern lifestyle which is on a par with other major world-class cities, and in which residents are taking increasing civic pride. The scores of projects associated with the World Design Capital have only helped to enhance the experience of living in the city and connecting with its spaces.”
The Cape Town Central Improvement District (CCID)’s latest State of the Cape Town Central City report, released in April (2014), indicates that over 5000 people now call the area home, occupying over 3000 apartments. This represents growth of over 300 percent in residential numbers since the year 2001.

View from the Mutual Heights Building
Pam Golding Properties’ (PGP’s) area manager for the City Bowl and Atlantic Seaboard, Basil Moraitis, says residents include mainly young professionals, students and creative entrepreneurs, many of whom study and work in the city. “There are over 15 000 students registered at the 46 different educational institutions in the area,” he says, “while over 9 000 people work in call centres in the Central City. There are close to 500 creative industries which have made their base here, and the legal and media sectors also provide substantial employment opportunities in the area.”
New buildings such as the iconic Portside (at 139m, the tallest building in Cape Town) are also bringing additional commercial traffic into the area, and the CCID reports that there is currently some 73 000sqm of new office space under construction. The Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) is in the throes of major expansion which will double its size, while construction has also begun on the new Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital, which will be located on the Foreshore between the Artscape Theatre and the CTICC and will offer 14 storeys of world class medical care when it opens in late 2015. 

This stylish apartment occupies 189sqm in Mutual Heights, one of the most iconic residential buildings in Cape Town’s Central City.

Moraitis says many of the employees working in these buildings and sectors are opting for the convenience of living close to work, and are investing in apartments in the Central City.  This trend is borne out by the surging sales figures for residential property. The CCID reports that while 132 apartments were sold in 2012 in the Central City area at a total value of R145 million, in 2013 the figure rose to 163 sold at a total value of R249 million. This upward trend is continuing into 2014, and in June alone 42 apartments were sold to a total value of over R71 million. The average selling price currently stands at around R1.6 million, and apartments are typically being sold for within five percent of listing price.
Whilst parents of students and first-time buyers may opt to invest in affordable bachelor apartments from as little as R650 000, upcountry buyers seeking a lock-up-and-go pad in Cape Town may opt for larger two-bedroomed apartments priced from around R1.2 million. There is also growing demand for top-end luxury units and penthouses, and Propstats confirms nine sales of over R2.75 million rand since January 2014. These included an R8.5 million penthouse at the 15 on Orange hotel, and a number of units in Mandela Rhodes Place sold for over R3 million. (Stats include sales by all agencies)
PGP agent Mariel Burger says those buying in the Central City can now truly embrace the concept of “live, work and play” in one neighbourhood, thanks to the vibrant lifestyle offering which now also includes a vibrant nightlife. “Residents can choose between close to 100 restaurants and 40 coffee shops, or while away an afternoon in some 120 000sqm of open squares and public spaces, not to mention the newly upgraded Company’s’ Gardens,” he says. “At night, the streets are abuzz with activity, including theatres such as the Artscape and the Fugard, live music venues and more than 70 bars and nightclubs. The First Thursdays movement also sees art galleries staying open late into the night on the first Thursday of every month, inviting people to linger on the streets enjoying fine art and fine food. World Design Capital has also brought a number of new street art installations to the area, while regular events such as Infecting the City give reason to pause and reflect on the city’s artistic talent in free public spaces.”

The apartment offers two bedrooms, two reception rooms and sweeping city and mountain views. It is on the market exclusively through Pam Golding Properties, priced at R5.8 million.
Access to all these work opportunities and recreational attractions is now considerably easier thanks to the upgrade of Cape Town Station and the expansion of the MyCiti bus network, which now sees over 100 000 passenger trips per month in this area. “Those wanting a more environmentally friendly commuter experience can opt to make use of the extensive network of dedicated bicycle paths,” adds Burger.

The appeal of this lifestyle applies to tourist as much as locals, so it’s little surprise that Cape Town has earned itself a cluster of international awards and recognitions in recent months, including being ranked top of the New York Times’ list of 52 places to visit in 2014, and first in the Telegraph Travel’s 2013 awards for favourite cities. Several other international publications and websites including Lonely Planet, TripAdvisor and Conde Nast Traveller have also ranked Cape Town in their lists of top cities to visit. Tourism figures for the city topped four million in 2013, including around 1.5 million international visitors. “The many legacy projects created by the World Design Capital will help cement the appeal for visitors, long after the World Design Capital baton has been handed on to Taipei 2016,” concludes Moraitis.

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