The Cape Town CBD has had many facelifts‚ and it is set to go under the knife again soon when developers start construction on a new 86m-high office block and an underground court.
A public participation process for the proposed skyscraper opened last week‚ less than a year after a vacant site situated directly opposite the building was auctioned for a planned development of a 55m-high "landmark building".
Both buildings are situated in the city’s foreshore where a number of developments‚ including the new Netcare Christian Barnard Memorial Hospital and an extension of the Cape Town International Convention Centre‚ have taken place in recent years.
According to the State of Cape Town Central City Report for 2016 by the City Central Improvement District‚ more than R16bn has been invested in developments in the city’s four precincts since 2012.
A large part of that is the refit of the Strand Street Concourse‚ which serves as an underground pedestrian walkway linking the Golden Acre Mall‚ Cape Town Station and St Georges Mall.
The city hopes to maximise the area’s commercial and office space with the refurbishment‚ which will include the construction of a municipal court with holding cells.
"The Strand Street Concourse refit project ties in with the over-arching principle of the City’s Organisational Development and Transformation Plan to become a more customer-centric organisation‚" said city councillor for Assets and Facilities Management‚ Stuart Diamond.
But Lance Chalwin-Milton‚ the joint managing director of property auction house, The High Street Auction Co‚ warned against all of the city’s development being focused in an already congested CBD.
"There simply isn’t endless space for the city to develop‚ and demand for the limited amount of land will keep prices at a premium‚" he said.
"According to the Cape Town Central City Improvement District‚ some 30% of the entire city’s economically active populace is currently employed in the less than 2km² that comprises the CBD footprint. That’s an enormous number of residents converging on a very small area to go to work‚ and excludes visitors and approximately 30‚000 people who are serviced daily by the various government departments within the downtown precinct."
Chalwin-Milton said investors should also look to other areas of the city, including the northern suburbs and Cape winelands to start new developments.