Unconventional R10bn mixed-use development for Cape Town

It’s not your normal run-of-the-mill mixed-use development. 

At Harbour Arch bustling public spaces will all be elevated, everything centred around this unique R10bn mixed-use precinct’s eighth floor park-like leisure and lifestyle environment. 

Coined “Central Park” and linking the precinct’s six towers, this is where restaurants, coffee shops, cocktail bars, gyms as well as convenience retail and lifestyle outlets will be housed and where access to offices, the two Marriott hotels and residential spaces will take place.

Amdec Group intends replicating its successful Melrose Arch recipe in Cape Town’s CBD, albeit in a somewhat unorthodox fashion. 

Harbour Arch’s lofty “Central Park” will be the street equivalent of Johannesburg’s Melrose Arch. 

Inspiration for the development’s distinctive design has also come from abroad. 

“We have taken inspiration from various mixed-used nodes around the world and have tried to implement best practice in Harbour Arch. 

All these precincts share a common factor; safety and security, convenience, connectivity and walkability,” said Nicholas Stopforth, managing director of Amdec Property Development.

Amdec’s large-scale 200 000sqm mixed-use development will be distinguished by its six towers, the tallest 35 storeys. 

This mammoth urban lifestyle precinct will cost R10bn and take eight to 10 years to develop.

Located on a 5.8ha site at the confluence of the N1 and N2 highways, Harbour Arch will be within walking distance to the Cape Town International Convention Centre, and is also located close to the V&A Waterfront.

The first of the towers to be constructed is a R1.5bn residential tower comprising 432 apartments ranging in size from 33sqm studio apartments to 109sqm three-bedroom units. 

Priced between R1.7m and R7m, this equates to around R50 000/sqm to R70 000/sqm. 

“We are trying to bring a product that will largely be affordable to young professionals and people wanting to live in the city,” said James Wilson, CEO of the Amdec Group.

Construction of No. 1 Harbour Arch with its residents-only rooftop garden will commence towards the end of the first quarter or early in the second quarter of 2018. Roughly a 30-month project, the estimated completion is at the end of 2020. 

Another residential tower of similar unit numbers will follow No. 1 Harbour Arch.

At around 60% to 70% of the precinct, the residential component (including hotels) will be the largest, with retail estimated at 20% to 25%, a small 5% to 15% office component and seven levels of parking. 

Motor dealerships will be located at street level.

Artist’s impression of Central Park at Harbour Arch. (Picture: Supplied)

The benefit of mixed-use development is the flexibility and ability to respond to the market, Stopforth told finweek. 

“The residential market is currently strong so we will develop that first. If commercial comes back into play, we will respond to that.” 

Construction will be phased and the development funded with a combination of Amdec’s own equity as well as debt funding. 

Phased development is normally driven by economics, sufficient pre-launch sales often a determining factor. Tower No. 1 is already 40% to 50% sold, presales amounting to between R400m and R500m. 

The project is expected to create 2 500 construction jobs and 350 permanent hotel jobs.

Harbour Arch will embrace the principles of new urban design – community, sociability, safety and security, convenience, accessibility, sustainability and eco-efficiency. 

The design focuses on reducing occupation costs employing amongst others, double-glazing, LED lighting, a centralised district cooling plant and Fibre to the Home. 

Water savings include harvesting rainwater and grey water use. But a development such as this can never be off-grid, said Stopforth. 

“It is impossible to harvest the amount of water needed to sustain a mixed-use precinct.” 

Wind is a factor in any high-rise building, but Harbour Arch’s communal outside areas will be glass protected. 

Amdec is also exploring ways of tapping into that wind to reduce energy costs, it said.

Note: All the pictures used with this article are artists’ impressions of what the finished development will look like. It is yet to be constructed.

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