Cavendish may grow.

Posted On Friday, 17 January 2003 10:01 Published by
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Old Mutual has bought a key property in Claremont that could trigger huge redevelopment of Cape Town's main decentralised office and retail area
By Ian Fife

Old Mutual has bought a key property in Claremont that could trigger huge redevelopment of Cape Town's main decentralised office and retail area.

It has paid R67m for the 13 000 m² Link, east of Cavendish Square, the company' s regional shopping centre.

The purchase will allow Cavendish Square to jump Dreyer Street and expand to Main Road. And Mutual is only two properties away from owning a megablock that could allow it to expand Cavendish Square from its existing 50 000 m² to a 100 000 m²-plus behemoth. The Standard Bank building adjacent to the Link was recently bought by developer Chris Drummond's New Property Ventures and Woolworths owns its store next to that.

Mutual owns the rest of the property stretching over three blocks from Vineyard Road in the north to the southern edge of Warwick Square and from Cavendish Street in the west to Main Road in the east.

Drummond, an entrepreneur, and Woolworths, which is moving its store into Cavendish Square and for which property is not a core business, would both be sellers at the right price. But even then, almost insurmountable traffic problems and changing shopper attitudes could mean a more popular solution than merely expanding the enclosed Cavendish centre.

Woolworths property chief Paul Simpson says there is a real chance the properties around Cavendish Square could be redeveloped into a modern, urban, open-air retail environment, like the successful town centres of British developers. That could lead to the pedestrianisation of Main Road and the regeneration of the east side of Claremont, says Drummond.

In the interim, connections between the various buildings will be strengthened. Eventually Old Mutual must do something to make Cavendish Square into a regional centre to compete effectively with the Waterfront and Canal Walk centres.

So for the future, bet on the behemoth.

Financial Mail

Publisher: Financial Mail
Source: Financial Mail

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