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Tuesday May 26, 2015

R1 billion residential conversion for Cape Town city centre

More than a decade after the previous property boom, Cape Town's residential property market is getting a massive jolt with a R1 billion investment in the Radisson Blu Hotel and Residence.

Triangle House, on the corner of Riebeek and Long streets.

The investment comes at a time of growing demand for inner-city residential accommodation, which has increased eightfold in the last 10 years.

Property group Signatura, in collaboration with the hotel group, will today launch its new residence and five-star hotel development in the old Safmarine Building that will include 166 apartments, starting from R1.63 million a unit.

This is the first substantial property investment since Irish company Eurocape spent the same amount on the development of Mandela Rhodes Place in 2005.

It will also be the first internationally branded hotel and residence in the city, and in South Africa.

"This will undoubtedly provide a fantastic boost to the local economy, and invigorate the downtown in a way in which it has never come alive before. Additionally, much-needed accommodation opportunities will come onto the market," said property developer John Rabie.

Signatura is Rabie's private label property band, and the Radisson Blu development is a joint project with international hotel Carlson Rezidor and property owner Shaun Rai.

"This is the biggest project Signatura has undertaken and has huge investor upside and amazing advantages for residents," said Rabie, on his company website.

Carola Koblitz, communications manager for the Central City Improvement District, said the development was a "positive move" as there was a growing demand for residential property in the CBD.

According to the State of Cape Town Central City Report 2014, the central city's residential property market has seen a significant growth since 2011 when the collective rand value of all residential sales was R115m. In 2014, this value had increased to R296m.

Other residential developments in the inner city in the past decade included the R340m The Icon, near the V& A Waterfront, Cartwright's Corner on Adderley Street, at R120m, and the R100m conversion of Mutual Heights. Koblitz said the CBD's residential population is now estimated to be about 6 000, up from the 750 who called Cape Town's CBD "home" a decade ago. The CCID also carried out an annual residential survey that last year revealed almost 30 percent of respondents living in the city have children, suggesting that the area has become more popular with families.

Koblitz said this development would lead to further investment and retail growth in the city. Most of the respondents to the CCID's survey said they would welcome shops and restaurants that stayed open after 5pm. "In terms of office opportunities, the Cape Town CBD is following an international trend identified by organisations such as the UK Foresight Future of Cities Project that is seeing a return of residential communities back to traditional CBDs. In turn, businesses are now focusing on these CBDs more than ever before as the markets from which to draw their workforce."

The Radisson Blu and Residence will be in the former Safmarine Building, now known as Triangle House, on the corner of Riebeek and Long streets. All the flats will have dedicated parking bays.

Currently used as offices, the building will be transformed into upmarket apartment units starting at 40m2 and going up to 160m2 for the penthouse apartments.

Designed by Louis Karol Architects and built in the 1990s, Triangle House, with its distinctive rooftop design, is one of the city's iconic buildings. At over 100 metres in height, it is also Cape Town's tallest residential building.

Cape Argus


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