Who woulda thunk it? Cape Town’s not just for oldsters

Business

Who woulda thunk it? Cape Town’s not just for oldsters

Property pros are jacking up office space for floods of young semigrating professionals and entrepreneurs

Alistair Anderson

Property experts say Cape Town CBD offices are getting old and need to be revamped and expanded as more corporations look to operate in the city.
Businesses have recognised that not only retirees are moving to the city and want to employ professionals who have moved in search of a different lifestyle and career.
Entrepreneurs who have left careers in Johannesburg and Pretoria, and spent their savings on new business ventures, are also looking for modern office space, says Wesgro, the tourism, trade and investment agency for Cape Town.
Rob Kane, chairperson of Cape Town’s Central City Improvement District, has launched Cape-focused Boxwood Property to take advantage of such opportunities.Kane says the Cape Town CBD may offer better returns than many other cities in South Africa for those who are prepared to “put some love into old forgotten buildings”.
Research by the SA Property Owners’ Association showed Johannesburg’s office vacancy rate was 12.8% and Cape Town’s only 6.9%. 
“Cape Town is short of premium and A-grade offices which has created investment and development opportunities for people like me who have worked in the city for years and understand which positions should work for quality tenants,” said Kane.
He and other investors were buying old offices with the intention of revamping them to attract professionals and multinationals.
Other investors were looking to build new offices in the city, which could mean buying old buildings, demolishing them and replacing them with offices tailored for large clients, said property economist, Erwin Rode.
Kane was the CEO of Vunani Property Investment Fund but left the company after it was sold to Texton Property Investments a few years ago. He and his partner, John Oliphant, have built up a R1.3-billion portfolio in Boxwood. Last week the company concluded a deal with Rebosis Property Fund worth R888-million.
“We have a very meaningful R1.3-billion Cape Town CBD portfolio, much of which needs redevelopment. This creates a great opportunity to accommodate new tenants and refresh the offering that current tenants are experiencing. As we will control a number of city blocks, we can implement some exciting streetscapes,” said Kane.
“With over R24-billion of development work on the go in the city, it is getting stronger and stronger by the day. The sharp rise in the number of residential blocks being built will further strengthen the CBD,” he said.

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