Wednesday, 19 July 2017 22:09

The evolution of Cape Town’s skyscrapers

Written by
Rate this item
(0 votes)

Lofty, proud and soaring, the first skyscraper buildings in Cape Town were built more than 40 years ago.

Today, the reinvigorated Central Business District of the Mother City has gathered momentum and with space at a premium, the cityscape will soon include new versions of these impressive buildings.

Stuart Chait, Chairman of Land Equity, a South African-based privately held property investment, development and private equity company, said around 25 new skyscrapers were due to be built in the mixed-use precinct that is the Cape Town CBD over the next 36 months, with many others in planning stages.

“Historically skyscrapers were built by institutions, mostly for single tenants such as Trust Bank House (now Absa), BP Centre (now Number 1 Thibault Square), Shell House (now Atterbury House) and more,” Chait said.  In the 1980s and 1990s, a wave of decentralisation hit South Africa, and new business nodes were created outside of traditional CBD’s. “The reason for this was largely traffic and parking which couldn’t be accommodated in the CBD, as it was too congested, and the parking was too expensive to build.”

In the early 1990s, crime and grime set into CBDs before a Central Improvement District was formed by the remaining landlords and the City of Cape Town, cleaning up the area and seeing a return of tenants and investors alike. As property prices have risen off a low international base, vacant high-rises have been converted to residential, hotels, A-grade office suites and retail spaces, and mixed-use has now become a major focus.

According to Chait the thinking of high-rise mixed-use buildings was not new. “New York, Sydney, London, Melbourne, Hong Kong and many other top cities have mixed-use skyscrapers, which service their retailers, hotels, offices and residential in one building. And they work very well. Also, the DTI’s incentive of a UDZ tax allowance makes it attractive for property investors, who can write off the asset over 11 years without paying any tax.’’

Chait said ongoing efforts would be made to convert the CBD to a bicycle zone, with city dwellers choosing pedal-power, Uber or scooters as their preferred modes of transport.  “The city will become greener and more ergonomic. The city’s skyline will change, with new, modern architecture and a residential buzz which will fuel the retailers. New and trendy boutique hotels, and creative office space will service the thousands of millennials, who love the vibe and ambiance that the CBD offers.”

Chait predicted that retail rentals and demand would increase to be on a par or higher than the V&A Waterfront.

“Cape Town has always had the highest land values in South Africa, and with a combination of significant tourism growth, massive semigration down from Johannesburg, low interest rates, a weak rand and the demand for property as a core asset class, people have realized the many benefits of living in the CBD. Investors are also receiving excellent returns from Airbnb rentals.’’ 

Last modified on Wednesday, 19 July 2017 22:23

Most Popular

How smart corporates are maximising returns by consolidating their property footprint

Sep 01, 2017
Amrod
For businesses that are seeking to be more efficient and productive, consolidating…

JSE listed Rebosis Property Fund announces R917 million B-BBEE transaction

Sep 01, 2017
Andile Mazwai COO Rebosis
Rebosis Property Fund, the JSE’s first listed black-managed and significantly black owned…

Growthpoint Properties posts forecast-beating distribution growth and achieves key strategic successes

Aug 31, 2017
Growthpoint Norbert Sasse
Growthpoint Properties today posted distribution growth of 6.9% per share for its…

Energy saving technologies will help consumers prepare for massive electricity price hikes in 2018

Sep 06, 2017
Cala van der Westhuizen
The latest ruling by the Constitutional Court, allowing Eskom to retrospectively ask the…

Thavhani Mall opens to much fanfare

Sep 04, 2017
Aerial image of Thavhani Mall on opening day
Thavhani Mall in Thohoyandou, Limpopo, has opened its doors to an overwhelming public…