Today, the Cape Town CBD is abuzz with commercial activity and new property developments – and for those of us who remember the state of the downtown area as recently as the year 2000, the area’s transformation has been remarkable.
How did the inner city go from a vacant, dormant district with low safety levels to one of the most dynamic property markets in the country? The answer lies in a unique partnership between business, local government, and the people who live and work in CBD.
From small beginnings…
The year 2000 marked a new beginning for Cape Town’s CBD. In the first year of the century, business owners in town had endured rising crime, vacancy and plummeting property prices long enough.
Deciding to take action, they approached the local government with a plan: clean up the litter, deploy security guards to ensure safety on the streets, and maintain the CBD’s infrastructure to create a world class city. If government was willing to supply half the budget, the local business community would contribute the rest.
Fortunately, the city council approved the proposal and a 15 year process of improvement began.
Creating stability to attract investment
When an area becomes safe, clean, stable and efficient, investors lose their reluctance and decide to take the plunge. In the decade between 2006 and 2016, the value of total investment in the CBD rose dramatically – from R6 billion to upwards of R24 billion.
The rise and rise of the Foreshore area, which is now home to some of Cape Town’s most exciting commercial buildings, has been especially remarkable. The CBD’s management company, CCID, estimates that this figure may exceed R30 billion by 2020.
A vision that was realised step by step
Tremendous enthusiasm from investors isn’t created overnight. In fact, when the CBD’s rejuvenation plan was first proposed, it was met with its fair share of critics.
This didn’t discourage the local business community and government authorities, who made sure that the teams of cleaners, public safety officials and maintenance workers grew each year. As the city centre gained a reputation for safety, cleanliness and stability, new businesses, restaurants and hotels began to appear in buildings that had been all but written off a few years before.
By constantly striving to improve the CBD a little each day, the unique partnership of public and private-sector entities soon began to reap the benefits of their project. Today the centre of Cape Town is home to over 7 000 residents, hundreds of companies, and a host of events that draw crowds throughout the year.
A model for other cities?
As the success of Cape Town’s urban renewal initiative spreads throughout South Africa, cities across the country have launched their own similar programmes. While these initiatives are achieving excellent results, it will always be remembered that Cape Town did it first.
As we look to 2020 and beyond, the prospects for commercial property investment in the Cape Town CBD look exceptionally bright. If you would like to take part in this unique opportunity, contact us today and one of our area specialists will get in touch with you.