R3.9bn Waterfront canal precinct plan approved

The canal district provides the first point of contact for visitors to the Waterfront.

The City of Cape Town has given the green light for a R3.9 billion expansion to the Waterfront’s canal district.

According to a statement from the City, the project will involve a mixed-use development and create 1100 jobs during the construction phase.

The 10.5 hectare canal district includes expansion projects on either side of Dock Road and surrounding the existing Battery Park development. The canal district provides the first point of contact for visitors entering the V&A Waterfront from the city, creating a seamless link to Dock Road in the Waterfront from the CBD, said Mr Plato.

Waterfront spokesperson, Donald Kau, said the area currently consists of commercial and retail space at Waterway House, a new parking facility, the City Lodge Hotel, a film studio and an urban park developed around the remnants of the historical Amsterdam Battery. Residential development is also planned for the area.

Mr Kau said the expansion project was first submitted to the City back in 2017, and they have been busy with the process ever since.

“In 2014, the V&A Waterfront acquired the old Queen’s Hotel and Amway buildings and these have been redeveloped as part of the canal district. With the approvals, this will be an overall 100 000m2 of mixed-use development.”

The development will include commercial, retail, residential and hospitality components, as well as pedestrian routes.

“We have already commenced with the decommissioning of the Caltex fuel station (a new fuel station will replace this), making way for a blue-chip office development.”

Mayor Dan Plato, in a statement, said the City’s Planning Tribunal heard oral representations regarding the original application and amendments were incorporated.

“The development will be required to demonstrate compliance with the City’s Tall Building Policy and mitigate any impact on surrounding buildings in the precinct.”

Mr Plato said permission has been granted by Heritage Western Cape after all heritage indicators have been taken into account.

The building height in certain parts of the extension east of Dock Road will be limited to 60 meters – this is considered appropriate to increase floor space, given its location in the city Foreshore area, where a number of the tallest buildings are located, said Mr Plato.

The approval for the development comes a week after the City and the Waterfront launched its partnership, a non-profit organisation called Blue Cape, aimed to maximise the economic contribution of the ocean economy for the city.

Mayoral committee member for economic opportunities and assets management, James Vos, at a walkabout in the Waterfront’s harbour.

At the launch event on Thursday April 22, the Mayoral committee member of economic opportunities and asset management, James Vos, said boat-building, despite the challenges and pressures facing the global economy due to Covid-19, has weathered the storm.

He said Blue Cape, launched with funding support from the City and the V&A Waterfront, will focus on marine manufacturing, including boat-building, super yachts, and ocean sports.

“This key ocean-orientated partnership has been established to ensure economic growth, job creation, and social upliftment by investing in skills development and policy advocacy in the ocean economy.”

Mr Plato said following the recent approval of the R14bn Harbour Arch Development and the R4bn River Club development, which together will see roughly 40 000 jobs being created in Cape Town, the approval of the V&A Waterfront’s canal precinct plan, will see another significant boost to job creation for Cape Town.

Mr Kau did not say when the first phase of the development will take place. He said details and images of the planned development will be shared in due course.