Construction Trends 2020

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Cape Town's R3bn CBD boom

Tower cranes sprouting across Cape Town central business district's (CBD) skyline signal enormous confidence in its future, says Rob Kane, chairman of the Central City Improvement District (CCID).
Under way, he says, are developments worth at least R3bn, with other major projects in the pipeline.

The largest project, Portside, is a R1,6bn co-development by Old Mutual and FirstRand At 32 storeys it will be the CBD's tallest building, but probably not for long. Goldies, a 37-storey building, is in the planning stage, says Lydon McGrane of property firm Galetti.

Among other developments on the go, he says, is No 1 Silo, an office development by Allan Gray, while nearing completion is 22 Bree, a R650m office block in which law firm Bowman Gilfillan will be the main tenant.

In the pipeline, says Kane, is Netcare's Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital, a development covering a city block. Due to start in mid-2013 is the doubling of the Cape Town International Conference Centre's size at a cost of R690m.

Also in the offing, he says, will be redevelopment of the Culemborg Quarter over the next 10-15 years. "The area has zoned development rights of 200,000m²"

But for Cape Town's CBD, things were not as rosy just a little over a decade ago when it was fast following CBDs in many other South African cities on the road to decay. "Cape Town [CBD] was a rough place," says Kane. "It was rescued from the brink."

Credit goes to the CCID, a private/public sector organisation formed in 2009, which rallied concerned role players into action. Central to the CCID's strategy is security in the CBD. "We spend over 50% of our budget on security and have cut the crime rate to virtually zero," says Kane.

Social development is another CCID focus. "We employ 600 people who previously lived on the streets on tasks such as road repair," says Kane.

Urban lifestyle development in the CBD has been another big success story, says Ian Slot, managing director of Seeff Properties' Cape Town city bowl agency. Also on the rise, he adds, is the short-term rental market, driven by demand from corporates for use by their staff.

The CBD success story has had another positive spin-off. "Tourists were once attracted by the Cape's wine farms, beaches and mountains," says Kane. "Now many are also coming to experience the city."

Source: Financial Mail via I-Net Bridge
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