The face of Cape Town’s Central Business District is set to change substantially in the next three to six years, with much of the development focused in the Foreshore area, bringing it in line with the rest of the Central City’s growth trajectory.

That’s according to Rob Kane, Chairman of the Cape Town Central City Improvement District (CCID), who addressed participants at a business breakfast held in the new Portside Building in Bree Street today (Tues May 27).

“At a conservative estimate, by 2020, the value of property in the Cape Town CBD would stand at over R27 billion based on forecasted, announced investments.”

The latest investment report published by the CCID – the State of Cape Town Central City Report: 2013 – a year in review – estimates the current value of property in the CBD at around R24bn.

Said Kane: “We’re going to see a very different Foreshore by 2016, and one that will have changed again substantially by 2020 when the Artscape Theatre Complex – including the Founder’s Garden – is set to be completed.

“Among the biggest changes will be the expansion of the Cape Town International Convention Centre, which will cost in the region of R832 million, and the construction of the new Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital, which is already well underway.  Plans are also in place to upgrade of the Media24 building.

“There’s also nearly R500m being spent on The Towers (Standard Bank) on Hertzog Boulevard and of course there’s the Portside Building, which we’re standing in today (as some of the first people to see the finished product), that was built at a cost of around R1.6 billion.”

Portside is now the tallest building in Cape Town at 142m, with 32 floors.

Kane said this unprecedented property investment in the Central City was indicative of the level of confidence that business had in the future success of the Cape Town CBD.

“Of course new developments aren’t concentrated just on the Foreshore; in order to grow, a CBD must be open to continuous evolution and change and we’re seeing a lot of that just with the transformation of the Bree Street corridor alone.

“In fact on the whole, the Central City is experiencing an unparalleled level of economic development and investment, as well as a thriving new residential and entertainment lifestyle element that simply just wasn’t here a few years ago.”

Kane said there were currently around 350 000 people already moving through the CBD every day.

“This figure is going to swell as the development of the Central City continues. Not only does this signal a lot more business happening here, it also guarantees incredible business opportunities for smaller businesses and entrepreneurs supplying products and services to the workforce and residential component.”

Kane noted that, while demand for residential property in the CBD was now fast on the rise, little development had taken place since the mid-2000s.

“The Central City’s residential population is already sitting at over 5000 people, according to the last Census, and yet there are still only around 3 500 residential units in the CBD.  It’s clear that there’s going to be a growing demand for property in the residential market as the increasing number of people working in the CBD will translate into a desire to live close to their place of work.

“Therefore two of challenges I’d like to put onto the table to developers and investors is that of residential, and the development of the right retail mix to meet the needs of both a growing workforce and a growing downtown population.

“In terms particularly of residential, property prices are increasing, the demand is there across more than one economic spectrum, and to do justice to the commercial and retail development currently on the go we should not be ignoring this valuable market segment.”

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