New developments set to add value to CBD

The Old Bank Hotel

Three new property developments are on the cards for the Cape Town CBD and, according to the Central City Improvement District (CCID), are set to add huge value to the downtown property investment and hospitality offering.

The developments include the R107 million development BlackBrick Cape Town, a residential block on the corner of St George’s Mall and Riebeek Street, developed by Ryan Joffe Properties; Uxolo, micro-apartments just off Long Street, developed by 128 Developments; and an upmarket boutique hotel, Old Bank Hotel, which is part of Lion Roars Hotels and Lodges, also in St George’s Mall.

The Old Bank Hotel, which has already opened its doors, adds another boutique hotel to the CBD’s offering, joining LABOTESSA in the east city and Gorgeous George in St George’s Mall.

The residential developments are both still under construction.

According to the developers of BlackBrick Cape Town, 65% of the 100 apartments sold out within two weeks of the development’s launch at the end of January. This follows the success of the development’s counterpart in Sandton, where all 208 units were snapped up.

An artist impression of BlackBrick hotel

BlackBrick founder Moritz Wellensiek, said the idea behind the “work-centric model” is based on the concept of “a global network of ‘vertical villages’”. Each village offers a combination of three interlinked uses, namely residential, hospitality and club memberships benefits.

Originally known as the African Guarantee Building, the nine-storey development was designed by William Hood Grant. Developer Ryan Joffe said: “Buyers get the value of the rooftop clubhouse and bar, the resident DJ, the workspaces, the boardroom, the café, the concierge, the security and a host of other services and amenities you simply don’t find in a normal apartment block.”

An artist impression of Uxolo

Uxolo, also a nine-storey development, will be just off Long Street. Based on the micro-living trend, the development was designed by Two Five Five Architects and offers investors 35 units in three sizes – 24m2, 31m2 and a 40m2 double-volume duplex unit.

Nadia Wallett, of Wallet and Finch Properties, said with the price of units starting at R930 000, affordability is key to the concept. “With no transfer duties, the affordability of Uxolo as inner-city housing is a plus. Breaking into owning property in the CBD has always been difficult, so this is the first wave of bringing in smaller units and allowing people to access incredibly valuable real estate.”

The Old Bank Hotel is the newest 28-room boutique hotel housed in a restored heritage building – the Old Nedbank building, which was built in 1902 and designed by Black and Fagg.

CCID CEO Tasso Evangelino, said: “The new developments, and the opening of yet another boutique hotel in the heart of the central city, augur well for the economy of the CBD.

“Both residential developments offer something unique to buyers, one offering affordable entry-level micro-units and the other offering investors and residents the inclusion of club membership benefits. This goes to show that the Cape Town CBD is still delivering excellent investment opportunities to potential buyers at this time when the economic effects of Covid-19 are still very much with us.”

Meanwhile, 40 Burg Street hotel will be sold in an online auction, which closes on Wednesday March 17, at 2pm.

Kim Faclier, the managing director of the property division of GoIndustry DoveBid in South Africa, which is mandated to sell the hotel, said the main industry of the current hotel is in-bound travel safaris and a decision was made to consolidate due to the pandemic, which hit the hospitality industry hard.

Ms Faclier said numbers at the 20-room hotel were non-existent in the hard lock-down, so the operation was negatively impacted.

She said while the hotel will be sold, it will not close down.

“There are many permeations available for a new buyer – to either operate as a going concern or redevelop. The current management are more than happy to stay on.”