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Woodstock: It’s hip and happening

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Woodstock is attracting a resurgence of investment which, rather than displacing people, is densifying the population and property prices have risen 20%-50% in the past few years

With its charm and character, and proximity to the CBD (it’s close enough to ride your bicycle there) without the hefty price tag, Woodstock and its neighbours Observatory and Salt River have enjoyed some of the best capital growth in Cape Town.

Victorian-styled cottages with stoeps in the shadow of Devil’s Peak and red-brick architecture have become very fashionable, sought after by young professionals looking for a hip urban neighbourhood where creative industries like art, media and design, décor and furniture abound.

Originally the cottages were built for artisans who worked in places such as the Salt River Railway Works and it was also home to many textile workers with factories, including the old Rex Truform on the border of Salt River and Woodstock, providing employment.

Like a number of places close to the CBD, Woodstock has undergone an urban regeneration.

Today the narrow streets are “a hub of entrepreneurship with trendy eateries and other industries part of the attraction”, says Seeff agent George Clelland, and property growth is on the up and up.

“Seeff is so excited about the area that we recently opened a branch in Victoria Road to service it,” he says.

Neil Gardner, chief executive of Gardner Property Solutions, says the area is attracting a resurgence of investment which he believes is not displacing people but densifying the population, especially on the public transport roads.

There are a number of exciting new developments in the area which are ideal for own-use buyers or as rental investments. – Craig Algie, Seeff Picture: Supplied

The 1 on Albert Road micro unit development, for instance, is well served by public transport, buses and bicycles on the one side and trains on the back boundary of the complex.

While property values have risen notably by anything upwards of 20%-50% over the past few years, the area still offers excellent value, says Seeff agent Craig Algie.

“There is a good mix of property, often older cottages that are ideal for upgrading and renovating, but there are many already upgraded homes, especially higher up in University and Walmer Estates, where you will pay a little more,” he says.

“There is also a range of apartment complexes, including the popular new Iron Works where units will be available for rental at rates beginning at R10 500 to R14 500 a month.”

A row of Victorian-style houses in Salisbury Road, just off Roodebloem Road. Picture: Tracey Adams/ANA

There are a number of other new developments in the area which are ideal for own-use buyers or as rental investments, continues Algie. These include:

1 On Albert – priced at around R950 000-R2.7m

WEX One – R3.4m-R3.6m

Woodstock Quarter – R1.4m-R2.3m

Iron Works – R1.3m-R2.3m

Salt – R1.3-R2.3m.

Woodstock is full of old and new spots sitting alongside each other. Worth a visit is the Woodstock Exchange and the Woodstock Foundary.

One spot that has served the test of time is the recently refurbished Balmoral Supermarket, a going concern for 60 years, with its bid for healthy living at affordable prices.(

Nicole Biondi’s places of interest and things to do in Woodstock

Why I love Woodstock? The characters (both in pavement cafes and on pavements) are colourful, the food selection is varied and delish, its walkable and the gin, sigh, is fantastic. Resident Nicole Biondi Picture: Supplied

1 Coffee

The Field Office in Salisbury Street serves my favourite coffee – Deluxe – with a selection of light meals (no gluten-free unfortunately) in a relaxed setting with speedy wifi. Great for sipping on your morning coffee while navigating your inbox. 0214472771 

2 Breakfast

Superette in the Woodstock Exchange offers a lovely breakfast selection and I have grown rather fond of their omelette filled with pan-fried mushrooms, zucchini and goat’s cheese. 0218025525 

3 Lunch

My favourite firmly remains The Kitchen. Juicy slices of gammon or roasted pork sausages with a selection of salads turns your plate into a colourful work of art. A nice buzzy vibe, now with more seating next door. 0214622201

4 Dinner

For the most amazing gluten-free (and gluten-filled) pizzas, great selection of tapas (try the calamari and chorizo) and a healthy wine list, look no further than the Woodstock Lounge. I love the laid-back vibe with friendly service. 0214483338

5 Gin

Woodstock has to be the home of great artisanal gins. New Harbour Distillery (0825503421) is my personal favourite tasting experience – the owners are lovely and the tasting space spacious and light; Woodstock Gin Company (0218218208) is right next to the Biscuit Mill, so it is nice for a quick tipple after picking up a whole host of delights at the Saturday market; but my award for best gin – not just in Woodstock, but in Cape Town – is the Hope On Hopkins collection (0214471950). There is nothing quite like their savoury Mediterranean Gin. Their space and tasting experience is also great, just a bit more difficult to get a booking.

6 Games

I am mildly obsessed with murder mysteries, so no surprise I adore HintHunt. Who wouldn’t love being locked in a room with a group of people, while the clock ticks swiftly away and the clues to the fictitious crime you’re solving slowly reveal themselves? 0214489864.

7 Markets

The Biscuit Mill (0214478194) gets pretty busy, but is worth a visit first thing on a Saturday morning to get the first batch of Tanzanian doughnuts. The Palms market (0214620394), also open on Saturdays, is more relaxed, but with less varied (in food and other goods) options. The cheese guy is great though.

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