Sandwiched between Salt River and Mowbray, and within view of the city bowl, Observatory is centrally situated and offers something for everyone
Investing in property in Observatory – affectionately known as “Obz” to locals – could be the most prudent move you can make, says Just Property agent Melissa Bee. “There is no shortage of investor confidence in the area as several large developments can attest to,” she says.
“Just recently we have seen the rise of lifestyle blocks of modern and contemporary design such as The Paragon, The Eden and Madison Place with more – like Obs Court – due for completion in a few months.”
Many owners of units in the older sectional title blocks like Serengeti Court and Churchill Mansions as well as freehold homes are splurging on modernising their properties.
“Spirits are high.”
Bee says now is a good time for first-time homebuyers and investors to be on the lookout for fixer uppers that – with a lick of paint and a bit of love – can turn a handsome profit in years to come.
“Even in the current dragging rental market the demand for accommodation remains huge in Observatory because of its proximity to UCT and a multitude of higher education institutions,” says Bee.
“It is also home to the world-famous Groote Schuur Hospital with more than 3 500 staff members.” Set between Salt River and Mowbray, with the Cape Town CBD and southern suburbs only a short distance away, Observatory is well located and has access to public transport including trains, buses and taxis.
It’s always been considered a Bohemian and eclectic suburb, for its vibrant and funky restaurants, coffee shops and bars, as well as a residential community which in the past stood up to the apartheid era’s Group Areas Act to become a melting pot of mixed-race households.
“A delightful mix of students, young professionals and families call Obz home.
“It is a dog walker’s paradise and has a well maintained dog park as well as many poop bag dispensers maintained by the Observatory Improvement District,” says Bee.
Resident Adam Hill says: “For me, Observatory feeds on the energy of the city as well as the sleepy suburbs. “It’s a cultural mid-point between people of many backgrounds.
“In a practical sense, owning property in a developing suburb means young people can afford to live here as well as invest long term and reap the rewards of the suburb’s improvement and growth.” Adds resident Tanya Steyn: “As a small-town-turned-city-girl, I long for those warm, heartfelt connections with my neighbours.
“And that’s exactly what I got when moving into Obz. “We look out for one another, in terms of security, lost pets or to provide a missing ingredient for a neighbour’s evening meal.”
Observatory has an active neighbourhood watch and hands-on resident and owner involvement has made a significant impact on cleansing and safety in the suburb, says Bee.
“CCTV cameras have been erected at most of the exits and entrances to Obz which makes it a safer place to be and a sound addition to your property portfolio.”
Places and things to do
Now with six branches around the country, Jerry’s Burger Bar in Observatory was the first to open and blaze a trail of yummy burgers and scrumptious shakes. On top of that are tacos, grills, hot dogs and salads if you are that way inclined. Telephone 021 447 8554.
One road behind Lower Main, where most of the shops and businesses are, is A Touch Of Madness. A bar and restaurant in a converted Victorian house, it has a dozen local craft beers on tap, a good selection of wine by the glass and a street-food inspired menu. Look out for the monthly Vinyl Fair held here. Telephone 021 447 4650.
While golf is the focus, the River Club also houses a Slug & Lettuce and bar. (021 448 6117) The SA Astronomical Observatory, after which Obz is named, is next door. Open evenings with lectures and tours of the site are held regularly. The next is tonight. (021 447 0025)
Among the museums at Groote Schuur Hospital is The Heart Of Cape Town, which honours those who took part in the first human heart transplant in 1967 – Professor Christiaan Barnard, the recipient Louis Washkansky, and the donor, Denise Darvall. Telephone 021 404 1967.