The importance of maintaining and refurbishing buildings to attract and retain tenants cannot be overstated.
A STEADY stream of building refurb i s h ments c o n t i n u e s t o a d d commercial value to Cape Town’s Central Business District (CBD), ensuring that it remains a quality environment in which to do business.
From subtle interior revamps to major overhauls of existing buildings, developers are keeping up-todate with the evolving needs of a world-class business destination.
“Unlike Dubai, not every worldclass city can bring its aesthetic and functionality into the 21st century through ground development. However, developers and property owners in the CBD, like many of their counterparts around the world, recognise the commercial importance of refurbishing buildings,” says Rob Kane, chairman of the Central City Improvement District (CCID).
The CCID was established in 2000, and is funded by property owners to provide complementary urban management services to a specific geographic area. CCID services include supporting and augmenting the City of Cape Town’s safety and cleaning efforts in the central city, ensuring that the environment is well managed, that social development issues are addressed and that the central city is promoted as a leading business destination. The Cape Town Partnership is the managing agent of the CCID and has a strategic management relationship with CCID.
“It is no secret that defaced prop- erties lose value and can taint an entire street or whole sections of a city. The importance of maintaining and refurbishing buildings to attract and retain tenants cannot be overstated.
Tenants want value for money, and properly refurbished existing buildings can offer excellent space to tenants at rentals that are competitive compared with new buildings,” says Kane.
Hotel and entertainment group Tsogo Sun is investing in three properties in the CBD, including a R40 million refurbishment to the Cullinan Hotel, and a R100m refurbishment to the Southern Sun Waterfront Hotel.
In the next few years the group will also be undertaking a major refurbishment of the landmark 32-storey Southern Sun Cape Sun hotel.
“We believe that upgrading and refreshing our properties will lead to increased occupancies and return on investment for our clients as well as for Tsogo Sun. The thriving central city is attracting much new business and tourist activity and Tsogo Sun is an integral part of this cosmopolitan business hub,” says John van Rooyen, operations director at Tsogo Sun, Cape Town.
Further down on Strand Street, one of the central veins of the CBD, The Pinnacle building was recently refurbished.
The refurbishment focused on enhancing the main reception area as well as shared facilities such as lift lobbies and lift cars for the mutual benefit of tenants and their visitors.
“With current CBD developments, changing trends in the area, and in the best interests of attract- ing and retaining tenants in the CBD, refurbishment is essential to ensure buildings are competitive,” says Kane.
Since its refurbishment, The Pinnacle has already renewed a number of leases including Apache Spur, which has also been modernised and upgraded. The Pinnacle has attracted Credit Matters head office and the owners are confident that more businesses will follow suit as the demand for business locations in the CBD rises.
World-class cities also take the changing needs of the planet and the environment into account when refurbishing buildings. In line with cities such as New York, London and Sydney, green refurbishments are also becoming commonplace in the central city of Cape Town.
The 44 Wale Street building is such an example, with a refurbished and innovative rooftop garden. Local environmental consultant Stephen Lamb created the green meeting place, which includes vegetables, herbs and other vegetation as well as a solar-powered water feature and irrigation system.
A few city blocks away Woolworths recently installed a solar roof system in its head office in the heart of the CBD, which will save an estimated 48 000kW of energy a year.
Kane says more developers should investigate the green refurbishment opportunities already present in existing buildings before building from scratch.
MAKE-OVER: The recently redone foyer at The Pinnacle in the Cape Town CBD which is one of several buildings to get a new look.