Cape Town - New life is being breathed into Northgate Island in Brooklyn, Cape Town – a former "big box" retail development which is being redeveloped and upgraded into A-grade office space with its own green urban park, and rebranded as Northgate Park.
The redevelopment is scheduled for completion in March 2015.
Northgate Island was originally developed in order to capitalise on the success of the Canal Walk retail traffic. However, the development was plagued with vacancy since inception.
Subsequently, 85% of the 18 000m² property was acquired for R110m in a joint venture between Arbitrage Property Fund and Buffet Investment Services with the intention of repurposing the under-performing asset through conversion into an A-grade office park focused on providing an affordable, well-positioned, attractive offering with ample parking.
The redevelopment project represents a further investment of R30m by the development consortium.
Allan Groll, one of the shareholders, has been involved in a number of successful development projects in Cape Town, including the conversion of factories into mixed-use commercial and residential at Wembley Square, the Black River office park in Observatory and Boulevard Park, a 38 000m² office development in Woodstock.
“Situated directly on the intersection of Section Street and Koeberg Road between the N1 and M5, Northgate Park is an easy seven minute drive (against the traffic) from Cape Town city centre, only about 10 minutes from the Southern Suburbs and 20 minutes from the Northern Suburbs,” said Ilan Kaplan, managing director of Arbitrage.
The office accommodation in Northgate Park will comprise large, expansive and open spaces with high ceilings, large floor plates with very few columns and floor to ceiling glass windows on each side, providing an abundance of natural light within a trendy and modern, light industrial ambience. There is also the potential for the bulk of the redevelopment to be increased.
“Such is the favourable response from the marketplace that 60% of the space is already let. We have secured several large, blue-chip corporate tenants and have received brisk enquiries for the bulk of the available space," said Kaplan.
"In addition, Moore Stephens has taken up 3 000m² of space, while Vide e Caffè is to occupy a total of 1 250m² which includes four different spaces comprising their head office, restaurant, roastery and coffee shop. Existing tenants include SA Home Loans, Dulux, Tile Africa and Homemakers Fair.”
With space ranging from 150m² to 3 000m², rentals are highly competitive starting from R85/m², compared with rentals of R150 and above in competing areas, according to Kaplan.