R500m development for city centre

An artist impression of what The Rubik will look like once complete.

Construction of a R500m mixed-use development on Lower Long Street, called The Rubik, has begun.

Sales on the project have already met commencement targets, despite a slow commercial real estate market impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the developers.

Once complete, the Rubik will be a 27-storey, mixed-use development consisting of retail space on the lower floors and office space and apartments above.

There will be 79 residential units above seven floors that offer office space, available to rent or to purchase on a sectional title basis. The ground and first floors of the development will be retail space.

The regional director of Abland, James Cresswell, said in addition to its 79 residential units, the project offers businesses the opportunity to secure office space in the heart of Cape Town’s commercial and retail district.

Marketing and leasing director at Abland, Grant Silverman, said the development, designed by DHK Architects, was unique in the sense that the lower portion of the building responds to the heritage architecture surrounding the building, with the upper portion of the building making a modern statement.

He said to ensure the building was environmentally friendly, there were numerous interventions which save on electricity and water, as well as reducing waste.

“The building is double glazed to reduce heat penetration and improved temperature control. The HVAC system is a closed water system with zero water loss, and is highly efficient. All taps and sanitary ware are water efficient and hot water to the apartments is supplied by a central energy efficient system.

“In addition, there is a bicycle storage facility to encourage occupants to use bicycles and the refuse room is designed to encourage sorting for recycling within the building.”

Despite the economic climate, half of the residential units are already sold out.

Mr Silverman said sales of the residential apartments have remained strong throughout the lockdown. “Although we have noticed fewer foreign purchasers, local investors continue to buy apartments and have shown amazing faith in the longevity of the Cape Town CBD.

“The Cape Town CBD has been remarkably resilient over many years. The Central City Improvement District (CCID) continues to provide high visibility security to the CBD, which continues to be a vibrant place to live, even during the pandemic.

“Although many of the restaurants and coffee bars did close during Covid-19 lockdowns, many of these establishments are once again opening their doors and breathing life back into the CBD.”

Construction is expected to be complete in August 2023.

The construction of the Rubik comes after the announcement of three new property developments in the Cape Town CBD.

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 Townhouse Hotel had also transformed into a co-living and working space with units which can be leased short term.

The new R80 million space, called Neighbourgood East City, is set to open this month, followed by the R65 million Neighbourgood Reserve, which was formerly African Banking Corporation in Adderley Street.

CCID CEO, Tasso Evangelinos, said the R500 million inner city mixed-use development The Rubik is one of at least nine property development projects that were in the planning phase, or put on hold due to construction restrictions prompted by the coronavirus pandemic, in 2020.

“It is extremely heartening that construction has begun as this bodes well for property investment in the Cape Town CBD.

“With both residential and commercial space, it follows the mixed-use property development trend that has firmly established itself in the central city. The development, with its striking design, is set to become a defining feature of Loop Street, and the Cape Town CBD skyline.”