Developments to change face of CBD

Major developments worth over R3.8 billion are planned for the Cape Town CBD.

Downtown Cape Town has become a magnet for hotel and mixed-use developers with billion-rand developments indicating that investor confidence in the CBD is strong.

This is according to the Cape Town Central Improvement District (CCID) chairperson Rob Kane, as two developments – one approved and one under way – are set to go up in the city centre.

Demolition has already started on the corner of Loop and Riebeek streets, as work on mixed-use development The Rubik commences.

Once complete, The Rubik will consist of residential apartments above premium offices and retail space – all housed within a distinctive glass-clad “tiered” building.

The building will have 27 floors, including nine floors of parking space, and seven floors of office space. There will also be two floors of retail space.

Rob Stefanutto of Dogon Properties, said the apartments, penthouses and offices within The Rubik feature floor to ceiling windows and 24-hour security, with prices starting from R2.4 million for a one-bedroom apartment and R4.599 million for a two-bedroom apartment.

“We have already sold 24 apartments at The Rubik, with sales spread fairly evenly across one and two bedroom units.”

Work on The Rubik is expected to be completed by 2022.

Meanwhile, the City of Cape Town’s Municipal Planning Tribunal will meet to discuss conditions of the approval of the R14 billion development, Harbour Arch, planned for the Foreshore tomorrow, Friday November 8.

While the conditions, as well as reasons were unclear, City spokesperson, Luthando Tyhalibongo, said the conditions of approval will be formally communicated to the applicant and objectors next week. They did not answer detailed questions from the CapeTowner about The Rubik, or about Harbour Arch.

Last week, the City’s Municipal Tribunal approved what will arguably be the biggest development planned for the city (“Development approved by the City”, CapeTowner, October 31).

The development will be built on the corner of Christiaan Barnard and Heerengracht streets, and is expected to take five to 10 years to complete.

Modelled on Johannesburg’s Melrose Arch, also developed by the Amdec Group, the Harbour Arch will be based on the same model of an open “complex” which the developers described as a “live, work, play” environment.

Once complete, Harbour Arch will comprise six towers above a pedestrian walkway which will run throughout the precinct. Called Central Park and situated on the eighth floor, the interlinked podium level will be tenanted by restaurants, coffee shops, cocktail bars, gyms, as well as retail and lifestyle outlets. There will also be street level motor dealerships, retail space, boutique office space, upmarket residential apartments, and two Marriott branded hotels. The initial development phase will comprise 432 apartments, two motor dealerships, retail, leisure, and commercial office space.

In addition to a residents-only pool, exercise area, and terrace, all located on the 17th floor, the building will also feature a roof garden and viewing deck on the 24th floor; fibre to the home, waste recycling, water-saving facilities and rainwater harvesting; a centralised district cooling plant; low-energy LED lighting and extensive parking.

Housing activists, Ndifuna Ukwazi, had previously objected as well as condemned the building, saying that Harbour Arch would be another “exclusive enclave catering for the super wealthy, who are mostly white” (“Mixed reaction to R10bn complex”, CapeTowner, October 26 2017).

Speaking after the development was approved, Ndifuna Ukwazi researcher, Robyn Park-Ross, said it was disappointing that when a landmark development is before the decision-makers who are performing a public function, that they focus entirely on physical conditions such as heights, decking and façades, while completely ignoring who will benefit from this development.

“This approval will reinforce the city centre as an exclusionary space where wealthy mainly white people are only accommodated. If decisions like these continue, social and spatial segregation will also worsen and poor and working-class black and coloured people will continue to live out the apartheid labour system where they travel long distances, spending 40% of their money on commuting.”

Mr Kane said one of the obvious benefits of the development at the Foreshore is job creation. “The large Amdec construction will undoubtedly create jobs, both during the building phase and when complete. At present, there is little pedestrian traffic in this area and it will definitely increase. More pedestrians mean that coffee shops and amenities will move into the area.”

He also said that the CCID has long been an advocate of affordable housing being located closer to people’s places of work. “This is a many faceted debate and it needs mature thought. A simple example is that due to the high cost of land in the CBD and relatively cheaper land perhaps 2km from the CBD, there is a choice: Does one build one affordable dwelling in the CBD, or two just outside the CBD?”