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CAPE TOWN: Our insider’s guide to the CBD

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Central Cape Town is constantly changing, making it one of the most sustainable, vibrant places for both residents and businesses in the world, receiving high accolades and awards - a thriving metropolis

Cape Town’s CBD– as with most central business districts throughout South Africa – was destined for urban decay, until the establishment of the Central City Improvement District (CCID) by property owners in 2000 saw the city centre acquire the sobriquet of the country’s safest and most vibrant CBD. 

Decentralisation is a common phenomenon in cities around the globe, but the ability to reverse that trend stands out; something Cape Town has achieved, going on to secure many accolades.

These include: placed 24 of 30 leading global centres for finance, commerce and culture; top of the African list for hosting international meetings and World’s Leading Festival and Events Destination at the 2018 World Travel Awards.

Property prices have adjusted. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA)

For outdoor enthusiast Jeff Keyzer the city bowl has it all: “It is where the city and nature converge. Seeing and meeting new people from all walks of life daily is enriching. Living in the city bowl is a unique, unparalleled and convenient experience.

“There’s so much to do and it’s literally on your doorstep. There are a range of speciality coffee shops where you can start the day or work on the internet, and great restaurants.

Table Mountain is a short walk away and the city’s best beaches are within easy reach via MyCiTi bus routes. What more does one need to be happy?” 

According to CCID research, sustainable cities require people to live in them, and to achieve such a goal areas must be safe and liveable; Cape Town has done this by developing into a sought-after vibrant and thriving metropolis. While office vacancy rates rose in the CBD in the past year, thanks to 30 000m² of new space on to the market, its figure is still the lowest of the five large metropolitan centres.

The iconic Long Street, with restaurants, shops and nightlife. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town also entrenched its status as the leading digital city on the continent, the sector providing 40 000 jobs compared to Joburg (9 000), Lagos (9 000) and Nairobi (7 000). About 6 000 people live in the CBD – 60% in their own homes; 25% are tenants in rented properties and the remaining 15% own the property and rent to tenants.

Law Real Estate agent Ron Read says: “There are numerous benefits to living in the CBD. These include: short travel time to work; downtown lifestyle with abundant entertainment options; multi-cultural mix and convenience; everything is close at hand.

“On the property front there has been a significant increase in residential units, with about 5 000 new apartments brought to market, many from re-purposed office blocks vacated during an exodus to the southern and northern suburbs.”

But at the same time the word affordability is a relevant term: prices for one-bedroom apartments are in the millions. Despite this, developments generally quickly sell off-plan at record prices.

The median price for an apartment sold in the CCID footprint has increased 97.6% in the past seven years from R1m to R1.93m. The profile of property owners is also changing, with a significant increase in buyers in the 18 to 35 age group over the past 12 months.

Cape Town is on the global map: local government generally works well, thanks also to the top-up services provided by the CCID; despite a sluggish overall economy there are property projects worth more than R12.1 billion under construction, planned or proposed to be completed by the end of 2020; schools and hospitals are plentiful and world-class.

It is a preferred venue for many international events – the World Rugby’s Sevens’ Series is likely to be hosted there through to 2022. “Cape Town has become a melting pot of cosmopolitan, interesting and adventurous people. At the same time property prices have undergone an adjustment creating opportunities for those who previously imagined it to be too expensive.” 

Jeff Keyzer’s favourite things to do in the city

There’s so much to do on your doorstep, with a range of speciality coffee shops and great
restaurants. Table Mountain is a short walk away and the city’s best beaches are within easy
reach via MyCiTi bus. – Jeff Keyzer, resident
Picture: Supplied

1 Drink

Replete with pressed steel ceilings, Kloof Street House steps back into the Victorian era. A suitcase-stacked bar boasts cool chandeliers. Enjoy the gardens; 021 423 4413

Kloof Street House bar. Picture: Supplied

2 Outdoors

Hiking options abound – trails on Table Mountain and Lion’s Head are two of the most accessible. The 5.5km Lion’s Head trail takes about 90 minutes, but requires dexterity with the use of chains to shorten the distance. Consider a picnic and watch the moon rise, while overlooking the city’s twinkling lights.

3 Eat

The General Store is a hole in the wall serving breakfasts and a harvest table at lunch. Daily specials include seasonal salads; 021 418 2305.

Molten Toffee offers free WiFi in addition to a backto-basics menu and good coffee; 021 422 1382

4 Shop

There is a wide range of clothing, furniture and designer home decor shops. Also hunt for clothes, curios and more at Greenmarket Square.


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