News from - R&N Materbuilders

Cape Quarter Extension merges old and new to offer village lifestyle shopping

The Cape Quarter lifestyle centre in Cape Town’s historic De Waterkant, is set to extend further into the trendy suburb with the scheduled completion of a second phase of the development – the Cape Quarter ‘Extension’ - in September 2009.

The current centre, with its quaint “Ou Kaapse” village square atmosphere, is a favourite with both locals and tourists, and an excellent example of how the charm of historical architecture can be incorporated into modern centres.

Shopping in Cape Town is known to offer a gamut of experiences ranging from eccentric and quirky shops in hidden lanes to world-class opulent centres. However, the challenge to retail developers has always been marrying of the heritage of the city with the needs of a modern retail environment.

Kevin Dore, director of R&N Master Builders, the firm responsible for the redevelopment of the Cape Quarter and the extension for developers The Cape Quarter Property Company, says that the new phase will incorporate historic buildings into the development and complement the existing Cape Quarter shopping experience.

“In keeping with the historical elements of the site and area, the developers are recreating a village environment with an upmarket contemporary lifestyle theme.”

“The existing Cape Quarter with its cobbled courtyard and fountain, stylish restaurants and designer stores has always appealed to a cosmopolitan mix of Cape Town’s beautiful people, tourists and locals alike,” says developer Bob Knight.

“The new phase of the development continues the Cape Quarter theme and is a mixture of destination centre and suburban shopping centre. Bordered by Somerset Road, Dixon, Jarvis and Napier streets, it consists of 950 underground parking bays, 8 700 square metres of Grade A office space. The 10 000 square metres of retail space will consist of a gourmet food store as well as fashionable and upmarket boutique retail outlets.”

“Shops will face a vibrant 800 square metre open-air piazza which has a strong European influence. In keeping with the lifestyle theme, Cape Quarter ‘Extension’ will enhance the existing village of upmarket boutique stores focused on décor, design, furniture, fashion, food and entertainment. The layout of stores is designed to complement the lifestyle shopping experience marrying daily convenience shopping with upmarket boutiques,” adds developer Ross Stegmann.

The Waterkant area has a colourful history which is retained and celebrated in the architecture of Cape Quarter. Phase one of the Cape Quarter was developed in 2001 when the developers acquired the land on which the Cape Quarter is now situated and contracted the services of R+N to execute the construction phase of this development.

During the Cape’s early British colonial period, the area was home to the influx of European immigrants to the fast developing port. The area housed many of the poor and marginalized communities of the city well into the 20th century. It wasn’t until the 1980’s and 1990’s that the suburb slowly started to become trendy.

The Cape Quarter is now classified as one of the finest shopping centres in Cape Town and displays one of the best examples in South Africa of the shift towards inner city living and CBD rejuvenation.

“Popularity and demand in the area led us to the decision to expand the Cape Quarter,” explains developer Paul Moxley.

“Our decision to use R&N to execute the extension was an easy one as they handled the original development with a professional approach.

“R&N are sensitive to the character of this historic area and have assisted our crosspollination approach of taking inspiration from what already exists when executing the new developments,” says Moxley.

”Elements of the original buildings, such as the facades on Somerset Road, have carefully been preserved and incorporated into the development,” adds Moxley.

The Cape Quarter ‘Extension’ is cleverly designed to accommodate its environment. The split level development blends into, and responds to its location and the needs of the surrounding community. A quadruple volume Atrium forms the main entrance way to Somerset Rd and has been designed with a vibrant and busy feel to interact with this highly trafficked arterial road. Alternatively, the double story back entrance to the centre comes off the calming and open space of the piazza onto the residential Jarvis Street.

“We faced a huge challenge in executing this link between calm residential and busy city living, whilst still maintaining the old shop fronts” says Moxley. “However we have carried it off wonderfully whilst still factoring in the character of the development and many other complex facets.”

The builders are managing an additional challenge of minimising the impact of the construction on the residents of the area: “Additionally, we have had to take into consideration the existing tenants in the Cape Quarter and ensure that whilst building the Extension we do not interrupt trade in any way and minimise the impact of building activities on the Cape Quarter,” says Dore. “We also have had to be sure to not impact on the surrounding residential areas.

The developers have applauded the manner in which R+N is managing the project: “Working with the R&N team has been a great experience as we constantly have their full commitment to the task at hand. Furthermore, we have found the City Council very accommodating due to the combined good reputation and history of projects carried out by both The Cape Quarter Property Company and R&N,” says Moxley.

The developers and builders concur that the Cape Quarter and Cape Quarter ‘Extension’ are unique and independent developments that reflect the changing trend towards mixed use space and that with its village within a village feel, that has taken inspiration from local and European culture and architecture, the Cape Quarter will benefit from the increased pedestrian traffic that Green Point Stadium will bring to the area during the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

“The Cape Quarter has been, and continues to be, a wonderful project for the R&N Team and we look forward to the official opening of the much anticipated extension in 2009,” concludes Dore.

Article from: R+N Masterbuilders