Thursday, June 21

Building’s huge potential

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Redevelopment of the Chris Barnard Hospital is likely to rejuvenate its part of the Cape Town CBD.

The recent sale of the old Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital in the CBD holds enormous promise for the city, and is expected to create significant job opportunities during and after the construction phase.

“Whatever we eventually do will represent a significant investment in the CBD and help rejuvenate this part of the city,” says Arnold Maresky, chief executive of Ingenuity Property Investments, which secured the site and then, due to the potential magnitude of the development , decided to enter into a joint venture with the Rabie Property Group.

If the R300 million building is transformed into a mixed-use development, the area will benefit greatly, says Maresky. 

The site is “strategically located” in the very heart of the CBD in the vibey Bree Street precinct. 

“The building has undergone many changes and uses over the years, starting off as a government office building before being transformed into a hospital. It now needs a new lease on life. What that will be has yet to be determined. 

“It is very early days as we have only recently taken transfer of the site and are currently evaluating use options.” Some of the possibilities being considered include retail, residential, parking and offices. 

Redevelopment is good for the CBD. Picture: Matthew Jordaan/ANA Pictures

Giles Balmer, commercial property broker at Broll Cape Town, says the building redevelopment will hold significant potential for the CBD, which has continued to be “dramatically improved upon” over the past 15 years. 

This was due firstly to the establishment of a City Improvement District and then further constant investment by investors. “The main thrust recently has seen the repurposing of older office buildings into residential accommodation, which obviously adds additional people into the city and has the benefits of the city being open for business for 24 hours a day.” 

Balmer says most mixed-use buildings have predominantly been shared as hotels/residential and ground floor retail, “so we haven’t really seen offices shared with residential”. However, one could cater for both through separate lobbies, cores or lifts. 

The success of mixeduse developments is heavily dependent on, and directly affected by, the quality of tenant and tenant mix. 

Chad Shapiro, senior commercial broker for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty in the CBD, says this will rely on the results from demographic studies in order to provide the “right look and feel”. 

“In my experience, the new outer-lying commercial hubs are preferred mainly by tenants and business owners who live in close proximity, especially in the face of the city’s growing traffic congestion. 

“The central Cape Town area will always be a primary choice for foreign business-owners and key brands due to its proximity to the hightrade tourism locations.”

Cape Times Property

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