12 Jul 2013
A steady stream of building refurbishments continues to add commercial value to Cape Town’s Central Business District (CBD), ensuring that it remains a quality environment in which to do business.
From subtle interior revamps to major overhauls of existing buildings, developers are keeping up-to-date with the evolving needs of a world class business destination.
Unlike Dubai, not every world-class city can bring its aesthetic and functionality into the 21st century through ground development, explains Rob Kane, chairperson of the Central City Improvement District.
However, he says developers and property owners in the CBD, like many of their counterparts around the world, recognise the commercial importance of refurbishing buildings.
“It is no secret that a defaced property brings down its value and can taint the value of an entire street or whole sections of a city.”
The importance of maintaining and refurbishing buildings in attracting and retaining tenants cannot be overstated.
“Tenants want ‘value for money,’ and a properly refurbished existing building can offer excellent space to a tenant at rentals that are competitive when compared with a new building,” says Kane.
Tsogo Sun, Southern Africa's premier gaming, hotel and entertainment group, is investing in three properties in the CBD, including a R40 million refurbishment to The Cullinan hotel, just around the corner from this establishment; a R100 million refurbishment to the Southern Sun Waterfront hotel, and in the next few years will also be undertaking a major refurbishment of the landmark 32 storey Southern Sun Cape Sun hotel.
“We believe that upgrading and refreshing our properties will lead to increased occupancies and return on investment for our clients as well as for Tsogo Sun.
“The thriving central city is attracting much new business and tourist activity in the inner city and Tsogo Sun is proud to be part of this cosmopolitan business hub,” says John van Rooyen, Tsogo Sun operations director.
Further down on Strand Street, one of the central veins of the CBD, The Pinnacle building was recently refurbished.
The refurbishment focused on enhancing the main reception area as well as shared facilities such as lift lobbies and lift cars for the mutual benefit of tenants and their respective visitors.
“With current CBD developments, changing trends in the area and in the best interest of attracting and retaining tenants in the CBD, refurbishment is essential to ensure buildings have a competitive edge,” says Kane.
Since its refurbishment, The Pinnacle has already renewed a number of leases including Apache Spur, who has also undergone a major modernisation and upgrade of their long-established restaurant.
The Pinnacle has attracted Credit Matters Head office and is confident that more businesses will follow suit as the demand for business locations in the CBD rise.
World class cities also take the changing needs of the planet and the environment into account when refurbishing buildings.
In line with cities such as New York, London and Sydney, green refurbishments are also becoming common place in the central city of Cape Town.
44 Wale Street is such an example, boasting a refurbished and innovative rooftop garden.
Local sustainability designer, Stephen Lamb, who runs an environmental consultancy created the green meeting place with vegetables, herbs and other vegetation as well as a solar powered water feature and irrigation system.
Down the road, Woolworths, the premium retailer, recently installed a solar roof system in their head office in the heart of the CBD which will produce an estimated 48 000 kWh of energy savings per year.
“There is no doubt that refurbishing a building is a much greener alternative than building even an eco-friendly building from ground up.
Developers should investigate the green refurbishment opportunities already present in existing buildings before building from scratch,” he adds.
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