Cape Town’s CBD is set for another milestone development with a R1 billion project near the historical Bo-Kaap area soon to be underway – despite some objections from the local community.

Mayor Patricia de Lille recently gave the go-ahead to the project, which promises to transform a car dealership into 4 000 square meters of retail space and over 200 designer apartments.

As the historical centre of Cape Town becomes increasingly popular with residents and businesses, the demand for living, working, and entertainment space has never been higher – but some of the city’s oldest residents see the new commercial space and development as an encroachment on their community.

Development and community rights – a fine balance

The Bo-Kaap community is famous for its colourful houses, New Year’s festival, and traditional Malay culture. With deep historical links to Cape Town, many local residents have opposed commercial building projects in the past – fearing that over-development will ruin the character of their neighbourhood.

The community’s main concerns are that the building may create traffic jams, intrude on their privacy, and block the Bo-Kaap area’s sunlight and mountain view. While the developer has stated that they did their best to make the development acceptable to the community, the project is scheduled to commence with local residents still feeling dissatisfied.

Building inclusive cities – how property owners can contribute

Being on good terms with local residents is essential for the success of any commercial building.

Dissatisfaction can quickly develop into resentment, with misunderstandings, protests, and possible crime events including vandalism becoming very real possibilities – but this doesn’t have to be the case.

Building owners and managers can become vital members of the local community, creating jobs and contributing to local development. Here are some ways of achieving this:

  • Make an effort to employ locals – this will allow you to connect with the community while ensuring that your staff live close to work and arrive on time.
  • Support local initiatives – from crime prevention to fundraising and local sporting events, there are many causes that building owners can contribute to.

As Cape Town continues to develop at a rapid pace, smooth relations between new building owners and established local communities are essential to ensure a sustainable future. To view some of the exciting new developments on offer, visit our home page.


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