May 15 2023
Some ten years ago, one of Cape Town’s most innovative and reliable developers, the Amdec Group, started to conceive Harbour Arch, a multi-use development with the potential to be an iconic citizen in Cape Town, a city which is gaining international recognition as being one of the most beautiful places in the world.
Now in May 2023, the first Harbour Arch Tower has opened, a win for the Group, and a vote of confidence in the Western Cape economy.
The first tower, worth about R2.4bn, includes 80 000m2 of built form, including 560 residential apartments, restaurants, high-end vehicle retailers and ample parking of around 1200 bays. The apartments are now priced from R2.1m to around R8m each.
It has 2500m2 of restaurant space with incredible views of the city. The 3500m2 ground floor area has been earmarked for motor vehicle facilities and dealerships. The tower will soon include a desalination plant and water storage facilities so that residents have access to potable water should they need it, especially if Cape Town finds itself in a drought situation again.
The whole multi-use precinct, which will be worth around R15bn and include around 2500 apartments, when complete, is clearly coming to fruition, creating thousands of jobs. It is being built on the 5.8 ha Culemborg site on the south-eastern edge of the Cape Town CBD. The complex will offer 200,000m2 of usable space and will provide more than 20,000 construction jobs.
“I’m proud of what our team has achieved with the first tower at Harbour Arch. The Amdec Group is known for delivering on large-scale projects. Our head office team has been based in Cape Town since we began operating in South Africa more than 30 years ago. We have created mixed-use developments in commercial centres around the country and are known for developing and operating Melrose Arch in Johannesburg. We are excited to add Harbour Arch to Cape Town, creating jobs and investment opportunities and enhancing the lives of Capetonians and tourists alike,” says the Amdec Group’s CEO, James Wilson.
The Group has positioned itself as the developer of choice in the Western Cape, since it was founded by James and his father, John, in 1989. The group has grown from humble beginnings where its earliest projects included residential renovations and refurbishments in the southern suburbs of Cape Town to multi-billion Rand projects. The Amdec Group portfolio includes eight major real estate investments in South Africa, notably Melrose Arch in Johannesburg, Harbour Arch and The Yacht Club in Cape Town, Val de Vie and Pearl Valley in the Cape Winelands, Sitari Country Estate outside Somerset West, Westbrook in Gqeberha, and Evergreen Retirement Villages across the country. It has also developed three projects in the UK, and seven projects in the USA.
Wilson explains that it took the Amdec Group years to locate the most appropriate site for Harbour Arch. Eventually the group found a site which was close to both the V&A Waterfront and the affluent southern suburbs.
“Harbour Arch is in a prized position which no new mixed-used development across the Western Cape can compete with. It can be accessed from the N1 and N2 highways. As people drive from the airport into Cape Town, Harbour Arch is the first group of buildings that they will see,” he says.
Construction of the first tower was funded entirely by ABSA Bank, strong long-term supporters of the Amdec Group. The project started approximately 42 months ago, and was built almost without a hitch. The only break in construction was for a short period when the Covid-19 pandemic was at its most severe and the country was placed into hard lockdown.
Numerous “buy-to-let” investors have also supported the Amdec Group and the Harbour Arch project since inception, many purchasing as many as five units with the aim of renting them out afterwards. The buy-to-rent model is becoming highly popular in South Africa.
Construction will begin on Tower Two once Tower One has been fully let.
“We have managed to deliver the first tower on time. Our goal now is to help our loyal investors who have bought apartments and supported us on our journey, to procure tenants. We want to ensure that our investors are comfortable with the Harbour Arch product and service, and that everything in Tower One functions perfectly,” says Wilson.
The first residential units in Tower One are being handed over on May 15. Residents are expected to move into the building at the beginning of June.
Harbour Arch, which will include six towers, will be rolled out over the next five to ten years. The one aspect which could slow the development’s progress is the strength of the economy, but Harbour Arch is well positioned to attract local and international investors.
“We don’t want to flood the market with units. We are on track with our master plan for Harbour Arch. In the best-case scenario, Harbour Arch will be completed in the next five years. In the worst case, it will be completed in the next ten. We applaud every person who has supported us on our journey so far,” says Wilson.
Once the first tower has been established it will start to attract foreign buyers, Wilson explains. These will include people who want to spend summers in Cape Town or foreigners who may want to rent homes out to young professionals, or digital nomads who can work remotely in the tech sector for example.
Wilson is optimistic about sales of apartments in the rest of the towers across the precinct.
“A positive election in 2024 will help to create positive sentiment in South Africa. The Amdec Group believes in this country. We are impressed with the city of Cape Town and how it has been managed to become an economic gem. People desire to live in the Mother City and Harbour Arch will soon become an address of choice on the African continent,” says Wilson.
“Cape Town is the best kept secret in the southern hemisphere. It’s like the Monte Carlo of the south, and I’m excited about its future. We commend the Cape Town Central City Improvement District, the City of Cape Town Municipality, and the Western Cape Government. Our superb premier, Alan Winde does magnificent work. Our mayor, Geordin Hill-Lewis has a vision for the city and his charisma and dedication to the City is exemplary. We are proud to present Harbour Arch as a new model citizen amid the Cape Town landscape,” concludes Wilson.
Paid for editorial for the Amdec Group.