Privately owned property development company Amdec is optimistic about SA's future, and its new R1.5bn Yacht Club precinct on the Foreshore in Cape Town is a sign of just that, CEO James Wilson told Fin24 at the official unveiling of the completed project on Tuesday evening.
The mixed-use development includes 170 luxury residential apartments, 6 000m² of premium-grade office space and the first AC Hotel by Marriott to open in Africa.
Construction was not without challenges, Wilson said. It is a narrow, long site with little direct access.
For the two years of construction, Amdec had a deal with Portnet to use an access road. Noise levels that could affect surrounding hotels also had to be taken into account.
'Eternally optimistic' about SA
"We are very proud of what we produced here and honoured to be in partnership with Marriott. Our relationship is based on mutual respect and this is the third of the seven-hotel deal we have with them," said Wilson.
"I remain eternally optimistic about SA. It has great natural resources, including its people. We must all be more optimistic about our future. We put our money where our mouth is. This R1.5bn investment in SA shows our optimism."
He added that, because Cape Town experienced the drought during the construction period, the focus of the development became even more on sustainable practices.
Live, work, play
In Wilson's view, the gap the Yacht Club development fills, is the ability for people to live, work and play in the same precinct.
"I think it is an interesting place to live. You can pop down to a restaurant and if you work at one of the offices here, you can use the conference and board room facilities at the hotel as well as the catering," said Wilson.
"That makes it a unique and holistic offering with a focus on security. We are also proud to be neighbours of the V&A Waterfront as it offers our guests the opportunity to walk there or use a free water taxi service."
Wilson is proud that Amdec has aligned with Marriott and sees potential marketing value for Cape Town from tapping into the international hotel group's 73-million-member loyalty programme.
At a 4-star grading, the new hotel will complement all the 5-star hotels already dominating the Foreshore and Waterfront area.
"AC by Marriott has very large hotel rooms with great dining and bar facilities, so it is a 5-star experience at a 4-star price," said Wilson.
"Geographically, we are midway between the Waterfront activities, with the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) just a five-minute walk away. The Westin is also part of the Marriott Group and we trade well with that hotel. With it being 5-star and the AC by Marriott being 4-star, this allows us to cater for large conference packages."
Having developed Melrose Arch in Johannesburg, Amdec plans to bring the same concept to the Cape Town CBD with its R15bn Harbour Arch precinct. According to Wilson, Amdec has received the site approval for the development and the intention is to start doing some initial ground work in the next month or so.
A view of The Yacht Club precinct from the harbour side: