Construction fever at Century City
THE built environment at Cape Town’s well-known mixed-use precinct, Century City, is set to double in size within 18 months, with 14 major commercial and residential projects worth R4,3bn either under construction or about to be started.

Because of huge demand for office space in Cape Town, the bulk of the new developments being rolled out are commercial properties, primarily for owner-occupiers. The most recent office property development launched at Century City is the R350m office park The Estuaries, which sold out in 24 hours at its launch two weeks ago.

Greg Deans, MD of Century City Property Developments, says the 35000m² of space at the office park would normally have taken about two years to be taken up by owner-occupiers.

The owner-occupiers will take transfer of The Estuaries next year and have to complete their office developments within two years. Century City only sells a limited amount of land for speculative development and only a few of the buyers at The Estuaries are developers. The Estuaries includes a total of 18 office sites, each having an area for development of 1000m² to 4500m².

Owner-occupiers who are locked in include CIB Insurance, eTradex and De Vos Paxton Incorporated Consulting Engineers.

Deans says The Estuaries is currently the only tract of land at Century City consisting of individual erven available for office development and this has filled the gap in the small to medium-sized development market.

He says they could make more land available down the line if there was enough demand.

In total about 173000m² of new commercial space is under construction or about to start at Century City. Of this about 120000m² will be offices, 40000m² motor and other showrooms and 2000m² retail.

Last month Liberty Properties, the property arm of life assurance company Liberty Group, announced it will develop a R206m office project in Century City for sister company Liberty Life.

Construction of the 17000m² four-storey building has begun and it is expected to be completed by March 2007. The new building will house the Liberty Life regional head office in Cape Town and will consolidate the group’s eight offices spread throughout Cape Town.

Other commercial developments now under construction include DaimlerChrysler’s new brand campus, which will house Mercedes-Benz and Chrysler Jeep lifestyle centres; the 10000m² Waterview Park office block; the 40000m² Century Gate Business Park; and an extension of the landmark Knowledge Park by Spearhead Property Holdings.

Residential developments under construction include the KnightsBridge apartment towers, the Bougain Villas residential development, the Island Club and Villa Italia residential complexes, Century View and the Oasis retirement complex.

Deans says The Oasis retirement complex aims to “get the full array of the life-span” of Century City’s inhabitants with 450 apartments aimed at the retired.

He says Canal Walk shopping centre — the largest in Africa — and the security that Century City offers are attracting many retired people to the area.

The Colosseum, a R300m mixed-use complex under construction, consists of groundfloor retail, offices above and residential suites on the top floor.

An infrastructure roll-out is also under way at Century City to support the new developments. Projects totalling more than R52m were completed in the past year, while a further R210m will be spent over the next two years

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