Sasha Planting
3 minute read
20 Oct 2017
8:00 am

A billion-rand development for CT city

Sasha Planting

The mixed-use precinct will transform a windy waste into a village.

Amdec, the developer of Melrose Arch, Val de Vie and Pearl Valley is to invest billions over the next five years in the development of a mixed-use precinct on the Cape Town Foreshore.

Modelled along the same lines as Melrose Arch in Johannesburg, the new development, Harbour Arch, will incorporate motor dealerships at the street level, several floors of parking, and above that retail, office space, residential apartments and two Marriott hotels.

Situated at the confluence of the N1 and N2, with close proximity to the Cape Town CBD, Harbour Arch will be built on a 5.8 hectare site and will ultimately comprise six individual towers. A landscaped pedestrian walkway on the 8th floor will run the entire length of the precinct and will connect the spaces.

While the site is not vacant – it is home to a number of motor dealerships – it is one of the last, large tracts of land available for development in the city.

The trend towards the development of residential property within Cape Town city began in 2003 with the redevelopment of the original Old Mutual head office – a magnificent art deco building – on Darling Street. “People told us we were mad and the apartments would not sell,” says Pam Golding’s Laurie Wener, who is also selling the Harbour Arch units. “They were snapped up by speculators and young professionals.”

Since then inner-city living has gained in popularity. “Five years ago you could not give away a three-bedroom apartment; today you see families choosing the city over the suburbs,” she adds.

Harbour Arch supports the vision to turn Cape Town into a 24-by-7 city, says executive mayor Patricia de Lille. To facilitate this vision the city has established a regulatory-one-stop shop to help smooth the way for investors such as Amdec.

The city has also released six hectares of land currently occupied by Cape Town’s go-nowhere bridges to developers. The only conditions are that they [the developers] set aside a portion of the land for low-cost housing and invest in solutions to assist with traffic congestion, says De Lille.

Harbour Arch is as far away from low-cost housing as one can get and unashamedly models itself on the global trend towards ‘new urban architecture’ which is redefining city living, says James Wilson, Amdec CEO. “It’s geared to allow for pedestrian traffic at all hours of day and night, and offers residents accommodation together with other lifestyle elements, all in the same location such as shops, gyms, restaurants and cocktail bars, with a huge emphasis on security.”

Obviously there is a price to pay for the convenience that comes with the lifestyle. In Hong Kong residents could pay up to R2 million per m². Number 1 Hyde Square (arguably the most desirable address in London) costs about R1.15 million per m². In the US Trump Towers costs about R550 000 per m² and accommodation in Sydney’s historic Millers Point costs about R220 000 per m². In Cape Town an apartment in the V&A Waterfront recently breached the R200 000 per m² mark, says Wilson.

Thus Harbour Arch, at between R50 000 and R70 000 per m², should be viewed as a steal.

Harbour Arch’s initial development phase – No 1 Harbour Arch – will comprise 432 apartments, two motor dealerships, retail, leisure, and commercial office space. Development kicks off in the first quarter of 2018 and will take 30 months to complete.

About R500 million worth of sales have already been concluded.

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