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Cape Wellington’s 1871 Old Tannery a hot new mixed-use destination

05 Dec 2019

The landmark ‘Old Tannery’ in Wellington, Western Cape, will soon be a new hot mixed-use destination offering trendy office and retail space, restaurants and other leisure activities, as well as a winery and weekend market, and other family attractions.

With the restoration and development well underway, some buildings already house a variety of creative and light industrial businesses, while others are being meticulously refurbished to provide a space where people can eat, drink, shop and work in safety and comfort, says Craig.

The heritage property offers the ideal ‘artisanal appeal’ and is a photographer’s dream, hence its popularity as a wedding venue, says Phil Craig, a commercial broker with Seeff Wellington.

The ‘Old Tannery’ dates to 1871 and is one of the oldest factories in South Africa. The restoration and development project is in keeping with South Africa’s heritage regulations, so the unique architecture and character will be restored and enjoyed for generations to come.

When it was established as the Western Tanning & Boot Company by John Henry Coaton on his farm Olyvenhout, thousands of skins were tanned and about 100 000 pairs of shoes manufactured monthly. Power was delivered by a steam engine and turbine and by 1910 it was well established with several buildings and modern machinery. It survived the Great Depression, but in 1939 the shoe factory was destroyed by fire and never re-opened.

The tannery continued to produce leather for shoe uppers among others. The Coaton family sold it in 1940 and it was taken over by SA Mercantile in 1944. By 2000, it produced enough leather to supply half of SA’s needs.

When the new owners bought it in 2017, it was in a state of decay and dilapidation. Development started in January 2019 to ensure full compliance with the authorities.

With the restoration and development well underway, some buildings already house a variety of creative and light industrial businesses, while others are being meticulously refurbished to provide a space where people can eat, drink, shop and work in safety and comfort, says Craig.

The completed development will include a ground floor level that will house food and beverage establishments such as a restaurant, coffee shop, selected permanent quality food concessions, general bar and a gin bar as well as an entertainment stage for live music and communal seating. The first floor is allocated to niche retail and office space.

Leading off the central Atrium, is outdoor space for seating next to the river as well as a wine cellar with a wine shop, bar and tasting room which will also be available for hire. There will also be ground floor exhibition space for a weekend market and additional undercover seating opening onto the courtyard.

The remainder, spread over the complex, will comprise of a brewery, distillery, entertainment space, cooking school (with a restaurant and shop), more office space and specialised retail targeted at arts and crafts, niche food such as a deli and bakery and other leisure activities, more restaurants and a gym. The complex will offer parking for approximately 750 cars after the next phase of development.

This home in Wellington, Western Cape, has four bedrooms, two bathrooms and is close to schools and amenities. It is on the market for R2.89 million - click here to view.

This is one of the most exciting developments in the area, says Craig, and it offers rental rates ranging from R80 per square metre for office space around the fringes to R150 per square metre for central retail/office space, with incentives available for tenants who can add value.

Wellington is just 45 minutes from Cape Town and 40 minutes from the Cape Town International airport. It is also less than 30 minutes from Durbanville and Stellenbosch and under 20 minutes from Paarl.

This home in Wellington, Western Cape, offers three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a braai room. It is selling for R1.65 million - click here to view.

As with most of the Winelands’ towns, Wellington is grabbing the attention of buyers from all over the country, say Seeff’s agents. It has become a sought-after residential area not just for those with work or business interests in the surrounding Boland towns, but even appeals to Cape Town’s commuter buyers.

It is also a popular tourist destination and is increasingly popular with weekenders and day visitors.

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