Huge Cape seafront development makes SA property history

Posted On Friday, 30 May 2003 02:00 Published by
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Innovative design a drawcard, writes Greg Gordon

CAPE property has been given a significant vote of confidence if sales of five new developments are a barometer. Big Bay in Bloubergstrand has attracted more than R200m worth of investment within weeks of its launch.

On the northern shores of Table Bay, 20 minutes drive from the centre of Cape Town, is one of the city's favourite beaches.

Known as Big Bay, this broad sweep of white sand, with its iconic view of Table Mountain, is renowned throughout the world as a venue for windsurfing and kite-sailing.

It has also, in recent weeks, become known as the focal point of a property launch that has lifted the Cape coastal property boom to unprecedented heights.

The site, forming part of the existing suburb of Bloubergstrand, consists of about 120ha of land.

After a lengthy rezoning process that involved extensive public participation, a development framework was adopted that allows for up to 2400 residential units single residential, group housing, and general residential; 47000m² of commercial and retail space; a petrol station; a 400room hotel and public amenities.

On this idyllic stretch of Atlantic coastline, the simultaneous launch of five upmarket developments at Big Bay has been greeted with an unprecedented response from the property buying public.

"Before Big Bay, no property release in SA had achieved sales evenly remotely close to more than R200m," says Colin Green, spokesperson for Rabcav, the development facilitators.

Green says demand has been driven by the larger positive economic picture and the prevailing investment landscape.

"On the other hand, the Big Bay developments represent excellent value on their own," he says.

"This is as a result of an intensive and wide-ranging planning process that has succeeded in optimising the potential of an absolutely world-class piece of real estate."

The real estate in question is impressive for the sheer nature of its size and location but is the classic, mesmerising view of Table Mountain and Robben Island across the waters of Table Bay enough to have unleashed a spending spree that is rewriting the history of property marketing in the Western Cape?

"No, it's more than that," says Green.

"The planning process that has been undertaken and refined in the course of the past three years underpins everything. Being able to work on this scale effectively we're not designing a development but an entire suburb is what has set Big Bay apart.

"This planning process has resulted in a unique mix of different land uses, and the retention of environmentally sensitive areas. With over 40% of the total area set aside for conservation and green open space, we set about providing a mix that would maximise values without undermining the environmental and leisure factors that have made Big Bay so popular with nature-lovers and beach-users up to now."

Public access to the heart of Big Bay beachfront has been a principle set in stone right from the start of the development.

It is also, because of the particular combination of wind, waves and sand, one of the best locations in the world for watersports like sailboarding and kitesurfing.

"In the mixed-use area around the beach, with its three-storey height restriction, we plan to cater for both the locals and the overseas visitors by creating a mini waterfront, with pavement cafes, restaurants and outdoor eateries, beach-orientated retail outlets, residential apartments, and an international hotel of world-class standard.

"Around this area, in group housing and general residential areas, are the five residential pockets of land that have just been released to the public.

"Strict architectural guidelines and height restrictions of two and three storeys apply.

"There are several significant advantages to the group housing and general residential urban forms. Perhaps the most important of these are the security benefits. Then there are lifestyle advantages for the growing number of people who appreciate the low-maintenance, lock-up-andgo type of accommodation.

"Another benefit is the fact that it is feasible for the planners, architects and landscapers to produce aesthetically pleasing and well-integrated secure villages surrounded by landscaped corridors and conservation areas," says Green.

A major factor that appears to have motivated the more informed buyers at Big Bay is a recognition that what is happening is something completely different from anything else in Cape Town, says Green.

Based on the principles of new urbanism, and inspired by the award-winning and worldrenowned town of Seaside in Florida in the US, there is clear evidence of a real commitment to designing a built environment that takes into account the richness of its natural gifts.

"What we're in the process of doing here is something entirely new in SA," says Green.

"Basically, we're landscaping an entire suburb to create an aesthetically harmonious area of the highest standard.

"Apart from the architectural guidelines governing the buildings themselves, elements like the walling, palisade fencing and entrance features have been planned down to the last detail.

"Large-scale urban beacons will demarcate the Big Bay area, and nautical masts and flags will characterise the traffic circles on the rerouted Otto du Plessis Drive," says Green.

"There will be an intensive planting programme on landscaped verges and berms all indigenous plants that have been grown from bulbs, seeds and cuttings harvested when we were clearing the site," he says.

May 30 2003 07:21:06:000AM  Business Day 1st Edition

Publisher: Business Day
Source: Business Day

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