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Monday Sep 03, 2012

Iconic Salt River landmark property being restored

Rex Trueform's iconic building in Salt River is being converted into a sophisticated office park available for lease to office users.

The refurbishment and upgrading of the Rex Trueform building is under way and groundworks to the courtyard of the building are nearing completion.

The well-known landmark is in a prominent position in Victoria Road on the Observatory side of Woodstock.

"The Queenspark head office will remain as anchor tenant, leaving just over 7 000m of tenant space, which can be subdivided.

"Careful consideration has been given to the needs of office users and the Rex Trueform Office Park has been positioned as a more affordable alternative to less appealing A-grade offices in the CBD.

"The office park offers a secure environment with an excellent parking ratio, modern efficient air-conditioning and a generous tenant installation allowance," says Max McLaughlin of Maxigroup.

With its distinctive architecture and recognisable for its vertical screening and folded concrete roof on the Victoria Street elevation, the Rex Trueform building is a significant example of modernist architecture in SA.

The origianl buil d i ng was designed by Andrews & Neigeman, and completed in 1948. The later extension were all influenced by internationally renowned architect Max Policansky, who designed the Judge Clothing and Cavalla Cigarette buildings opposite and for whom Neigeman had worked previously.

Heritage consultant, Ashley Lillie, says that the Rex Trueform building is an outstanding example of the period and undoubtedly the finest example of its type in the country.

The building was commissioned for an industrial application, but many of the design objectives are consistent with modern office user requirements. These include large regularly shaped floorplates with minimal column intrusion and naturally lit work areas.

The building is being sensitively restored with a brand new reception and lift lobby, featuring a voluminous atrium spanning five floors with glass facades to the north and south providing magnificent views. High-speed lifts, performance glazing on the Aubrey Street elevation and new air-conditioning help create an efficient and comfortable environment.

Architect Frank Böhm, of Frank Böhm Studio, has worked closely with the City Council and the SA Heritage Association to ensure that the building functions well for its new role, as well as preserving the historical nature of the building.

The new modern lift lobby and reception - with two lifts for the sole use of outside tenants - connects the offices with the parking garage, providing direct and secure access for tenants, as well as linking the landscaped courtyard to the back of the building with the new pedestrian entrance on Victoria Road.

Says Böhm: "The refurbishment and extension of t he building ensures that there is a strong interface with Victoria Road, a five times volume that responds to the most city and Table Mountain views that marries these building blocks."

The refurbishment of the building includes features to reduce electricity consumption, such as energyefficient lighting; thermal reduction glazing on elevations with high heat loads; the retention of a number of shading interventions; and a VRV air-conditioning with an output that is matched to the required heating or cooling loads of the building.

McLaughlin says that recycled buildings are among the most environmentally friendly, with significantly lower carbon footprints compared to newly constructed buildings that would meet the same needs.

The Rex Trueform sky sign, which is visible from Nelson Mandela Boulevard and the N1 as well as the surrounding neighbourhood, makes the building a true landmark and highlights its central location.

The office park is within easy walking distance of Salt River station and on the door step of major taxi and bus routes and close to major freeways.

"Although office vacancies in the Cape Town CBD are relatively high, most of the available space is compromised by lack of parking, older inefficient air-conditioning with restricted operating times, awkward floor plates, slow lifts and unappealing finishes and architecture. Rex Trueform Office Park is being positioned as a competitively priced and appealing choice for companies

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