Famed as one of Cape Town’s ultramodern work-and-play lifestyle villages, Century City has proven to be a highly attractive locale for businesses, residents, and investors alike. Situated a convenient fifteen minutes from the CBD, the precinct hosts over 500 companies (including some of the country’s top blue chips) on a 250-hectare, mixed use estate offering state-of-the-art office space, luxury houses and apartments, along with an immense assortment of world-class leisure, shopping and retail amenities.
Fittingly for its name, the precinct functions effectively as a self-contained city, with the adjacent N1 highway and excellent public transport links guaranteeing easy access anywhere from its central location within the greater Cape Town metropole.
Exceptional infrastructure, security and conferencing facilities
Markedly attractive for residents and businesses prospecting for premises is Century City’s consistent record of low crime – well below the norm outside its perimeter wall. The multi-tiered security system includes a CCTV camera network, a central command office, and the high visibility patrols of the internal rapid-response security force. Superior IT infrastructure in the form of Century City Connect – the country’s first open access fibre optic network – streamlines internet connectivity and the ease of doing business here.
Most prominent are the conference facilities being developed and completed. The Crystal Towers Hotel and Spa accommodates up to 450 delegates in four state-of-the-art venues; and features a further eight boardrooms. Nearby, Bridgeways presents a variety of function, banqueting and conference halls for events ranging from a few dozen attendees to several thousand guests – ideal for corporate days and product launches. Nevertheless, drawing the greatest interest, investment, and excitement are the commercial developments currently ongoing at Century City.
Under construction since 2014, a versatile and high-tech convention centre is scheduled to open in early 2016. The Century City Conference Centre has a capacity for 1900 delegates across 20 venues, including adjoining assembly areas, a business lounge, and breakaway rooms as part of its ‘maximum flexibility design’. The aesthetic architecture, along with the landscaping and extensive canal system of Century City, complements the functional experience.
The Centre was conceptualised as a result of the inability of existing facilities to keep up with demand. As Cape Town’s prominence as a business, investment, and leisure destination rose, so too did the need for commercial space, along with the associated accommodation, hospitality, and dining providers. To this end, the construction of a 125-room hotel is underway, as part of the R1billion Century City Urban Square mixed-use development initiative, which also encompasses offices, showrooms, apartments, retail floors, and a five-storey parking basement containing 1300 bays.
Property experts monitoring the precinct remain confident that, given the domestic and international interest, the strong demand for cutting-edge office, hotel, retail and residential space will continue for the foreseeable future. At present, Century City office vacancies are at a low of approximately 6%.
Bridge Park nears completion
The 18000m2 Bridge Park office block consists of two buildings housing premier-grade space. At a total cost of R425million, the project has been registered for star accreditation with the Green Building Council of SA, in line with the latest property design best practices Especially suited to larger companies searching for at least 1600m2 of space, the 9900m2 Bridge Park East will open in June; while the first corporate tenants are to take up occupancy of Bridge Park West in July.
Apex office block to be completed early 2016
Fronting onto Century City Square is the Apex, an iconic development comprising 7900m2 of office space over seven levels. Highlighting the popularity of mixed-use properties and convenience of work-and-play, the ground floor has been reserved for gathering spaces and restaurants. Expected gross rentals are in the order of R175 per square metre.
Beginning last year, upgrades and new projects totalling over R130million are being rolled out in and around Century City. Mostly to address security concerns and ease traffic, they have included the construction of R45million of roads and canals around Bridgeways; an R18million upgrade of Sable Road; and a new MyCiTi station at a cost of R35million.
December saw the piloting of the Variable Messaging System (VMS) to assist with peak traffic guidance in Century City: three VMS signs, deployed to convey information to motorists, have to date been installed on Century Boulevard. The system is complemented by the installation of navigational signs at each property bearing information such as direction, street name, and precinct boundaries. Pending a review in June, the former project may be expanded in the second half of the year; while the latter is to be wrapped up in the final quarter of 2015.
Registration number recognition
A notable addition to security has been the acquisition of cutting-edge license plate recognition software. All five entrances at Century City were equipped with specialised cameras in January this year. Linked to the overall software management system, they enable the continuous tracking of suspicious vehicles via the estate-wide camera network. The software has been configured with a database of registration numbers, allowing for the isolation of the movement of particular vehicles. As explained by the Safety and Security Manager, Marinus Boshoff, based on historical profiling, when a suspicious vehicle enters Century City, an alarm sounds in the central Control Centre. The vehicle plate number is then checked against SAPS possible case numbers, and if verified, Milnerton SAPS is notified.
The upgraded license plate recognition system has already produced tangible benefits since its inception this year, and serves to reinforce the desirability of working and living in one of Cape Town’s finest business locales.