Property Flash


May 7 2024 08:00

While cities across the world grapple with low growth and high interest rate environments, coupled with pressures on infrastructure, the demand for new living, office and mixed-use spaces in the Cape Town CBD is palpable, with unique buildings like The Barracks and The Rubik adding to an already impressive property mix.

These new additions are thriving because of well-managed organisations such as the Cape Town Central City Improvement District (CCID) that work closely with local government to keep the city’s Central Business District safe, clean, with working infrastructure, and in a position to thrive.

The CCID, which was founded in 2000, is a not-for-profit private-public company that operates in a 1.6 km² geographical area in the Mother City’s traditional CBD. It is mandated by stakeholders to manage and promote what is known as “town” in partnership with the City of Cape Town.

The organisation – which has achieved a clean audit every year since inception – helped to turn around the inner city at a time when it was beset with crime, grime, and disinvestment. The heart of business in Cape Town is now a clean, safer, diverse, and vibrant area that is attracting a new generation of businesses, visitors, and residents.

“The CCID is visible on the streets of Cape Town. They are highly active in making the lives of businesses easier across the city,” says Casey Augoustides co-owner and co-developer of The Barracks, a mixed-use development in trendy Bree Street that was effectively born by happenstance.

The Barracks, Cape Town CBD

The owners: brothers Mike and Casey Augoustides oversee Mike’s Sports, their family business. Since it was established in 1949, the business’ warehouse was in Woodstock. Unfortunately, Woodstock shifted from being a bustling industrial area to being one that fell to neglect and crime.

By the late 1990s Mike’s Sports wanted out so in 2001 they moved to Cape Town’s CBD, to a building on Bree Street. This decision would prove to be a special one. While Woodstock would later be redeveloped and reenergised, the Augoustides brothers would buy the building in sections as they released its development potential.

Mike (left) and Casey (right) Augoustides, source: Cape Town CCID

They found that it was one of Cape Town’s oldest buildings, having been built by Martin Melck as a warehouse to store wine and grain. From a very early point it was put to use as a military barracks by the Dutch East India Company and used as such for almost a century, hence its name today.

The brothers would have to restore and redevelop parts of the building and others while keeping its heritage status intact. They first put plans forward in 2005 and 2006 which were rejected and then turned to the late heritage specialist Gawie Fagan who managed to get plans approved in 2009. However, for the next seven years, the development faced legal battles.

“We broke ground in 2017. With The Barracks we believe we have created a structural marvel. It is essentially two buildings which are vertically separated by an airgap, with old and new clearly differentiated in design and materiality. In this way the integrity of the historic building is maintained allowing it to be experienced as it was whilst forming part of one dynamic development,” says Casey Augoustides.

The Barracks now offers high-end commercial space and fully-serviced 24/7 30m2 apartments, which are managed together as an apart-hotel concept by TPF Hospitality.

A unique tenant is Light House Holistic, a 475 m² light-and-plant-filled wellness studio and wellness space, complete with a raised saltwater pool, that operates as a club on the building’s rooftop. 

The Barracks has more than 60 studios, one- and two-bedroom apartments with selected units including a private balcony.

“Guests staying in our studios and one-bedroom apartments can enjoy a complimentary breakfast daily from the restaurant on the lower floor,” says Casey.

The studio apartments are priced between R1 500 and R2 000 per night. The one- bedrooms start at about R2 100 per night while the two-bedrooms are around R2 900.   

  Luxury studio apartment – The Barracks

It seems the brothers may have taken a very old building which had lost its identity and transformed it into something which is set to become a vibrant citizen of Cape Town, providing a variety of uses for those who live or work in the building and for those who visit it to use the wellness centre and other facilities, which include the buzzing restaurant Cowfish Bree Street.

Shelflife – Premium Footwear Outlet – The Barracks

The persistent demand for high-quality new or re-developed office space in the city can be seen with launch of The Rubik, a mixed-use property brought by Abland, in conjunction with Nedbank CIB, Giflo Group and WBHO. They also appreciate the hard work of the CCID and the city of Cape Town, which helped to drive investments into the city.

The Rubik, Cape Town CBD

The Rubik, like The Barracks, has a unique look, refreshing the Cape Town skyline. Designed by dhk Architects, this skyscraper is made up of stacked glass box volumes which pivot around a central axis, hence the name. These create colourful optical prisms of light for people who get to admire the building. Off-street parking is available at a cost.

The Rubik lies on 17 Loop Street, at the corner of Riebeek Street. The tower is made up of an 11-storey base including retail on the ground and first floors, seven storeys of office space and nine residential levels. The residential space houses 87 high-end apartments, of which around 82 have already been sold. They have largely been sold to investors who plan to rent them out. The apartments range in size from one to two bedrooms to nine premium penthouses that have private terraces. The building also has a rooftop pool deck. There are expansive parking facilities. Residents will take occupancy from the end of April 2024.

The apartments are priced from R2.3m upwards with the penthouses costing around R8m each. One luxurious apartment was sold R17m.

Abland had previously developed 22 Bree Street with law firm Bowmans as the anchor tenant as well as 35 Lower Long with law firm ENS as the anchor.

Grant Silverman, director at Abland says The Rubik, which is worth about R500m, is a flagship building for the group. It was delayed by the pandemic, but this gave his team and partners time to improve the overall product, he says.

Abland is working to get the offices in the Rubik occupied and has been in talks with potential rental tenants and owner-occupiers.

“The best would be owner-occupiers. We have been approached by a couple of groups who are interested in occupying the entire 4 800 m² office component. I believe it shows the strength of The Rubik,” Silverman says.

The premium-grade office space includes seven floors of 700 m² each, and its retail space can be broken up into two opportunities spanning 130 m² and 273 m².

The 400 m2 retail component of the Rubik will include coffee shops and other convenience retail.

The Cape Town CBD attracts people who are looking to live, work and play there because its South Africa’s best example of a working inner city that is vibrant, culturally rich, with a plethora of niche, destination retail stores as well as a vibrant hospitality and eventing economy.

George’s Coffee Bar – Long Street

Retailers including niche small businesses are finding success in Cape Town’s CBD. George Hadjidakis is a 26-year-old coffee shop owner who has opened five Georges’ stores over the past four years.

George Hadjidakis and team

“I’m happy that I opened my fifth branch, in Long Street, on July 1 last year. This George’s Coffee Bar branch has been an immediate success. I believe we serve a quality product, but we are also able to thrive because the CBD is well-run. There are groups which care and do more than their bit. The CCID for example is very noticeable. They have representatives all over the streets, each doing a task, whether its security, cleaning, or other management. They are also educating people about how to move around in the city. I appreciate how accessible they are. I believe they have a played a big role in my life and saved Long Street when it was going through a bad patch,” he says.

A Barista doing his magic at George’s Coffee Bar, Long Street

Silverman agrees that the CCID does a lot of work to help keep the city safe and clean. “Residents and tenants are also educated about how to operate in the city and where challenging spots are. The Executive Mayor and the Western Cape Premier’s offices are also accessible. Abland itself has offices in the Cape CBD.

The Rubik promises to be a success. It is a flagship development for us which we are very proud of. We feel people will be drawn to this excellent, premium grade building located in a well-run city. It offers high quality urban living within this evolving urban quarter of Cape Town,” says Silverman.

A new entrant to residential developments in the Cape Town CBD is the Blok group which recently launched TENONV, an apartment block .

It is located at 10 Vredenburg lane, a stone’s throw from The Company’s Garden and the historic city centre and is Blok’s 18th development and its first in Cape Town’s CBD. 

Blok has previously built apartments in Sea Point. “After transforming the Atlantic Seaboard’s skyline, we’re now channelling our progressive and proven design philosophy into the heart of the city,” Blok CEO, Jacques van Embden says.

These are bold words but TENONV is set to attract people who are crazy about location and enjoy living in minimalist micro-apartments which offer high-quality essential services including showers, kitchenettes and storage space.

The micro apartments are priced from R1.15m, the studios from R1.495m, compact one-bedrooms from R2.22m and normal one-bedrooms from R2.595m. The one-bedroom duplex apartments cost from R3.050m, while the two-bedrooms are from R3.995 and the two-bedroom duplexes are priced from R4.975m. 

“Compact apartments are an innovative solution that reshape the way we envision city living. They combine the various elements of a home into a single space with a compact footprint, so it’s no wonder that they’ve taken the world by storm, from Tokyo to New York. We’re delighted to bring the concept to the heart of Cape Town,” van Embden says.

TENONV offers 24-hour security and concierge, a communal pool deck with views of Table Mountain, as well as on-site laundry facilities. The development includes a collection of 150 apartments, offering a selection of micro, studio, one- and two-bedroom homes. They are also pet-friendly, and situated within walking distance of The Company’s Garden, the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel, The Labia Theatre, The Houses of Parliament, High Court Chambers, the Western Cape Provincial Government, the Iziko South African National Gallery, and the Iziko South African Museum. 


TENONV offers high-quality apartment living in the centre of Cape Town

The Cape Town CBD’s property market is primed for growth, averaging 5% annual capital appreciation – representing an astute long-term investment for savvy buyers, according to Blok. This is because of demand, strong developments and superb property management from groups like Blok as well as city and infrastructure management by the likes of the CCID and the city.

Clearly, downtown Cape Town remains a hotspot for high-quality residential developments and modern living. It’s thanks to groups like the CCID which makes living, working, and playing in the Mother City’s CBD a delightful experience.

Paid editorial for the Cape Town CCID


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