Global mixed-use trends evident on South African shores

It’s great to report some good news for the Cape Town property market as work commences on major new developments, chief among them the Amdec Group’s R15bn Harbour Arch precinct, located on the site that previously housed the Culemborg automotive dealerships.

Early purchasers will be reaping the rewards of buying into Harbour Arch, but there is still value to be had with the second tower launching this year. It competes on a global scale in terms of quality and innovation, which means there is a fair expectation of it yielding consistently strong returns on investment.

See Concept range of eye wear and an iconic view of the Melrose Arch node

“The key to a development such as Harbour Arch,” says Nicholas Stopforth, MD of Amdec Property Developments, “is the fact that we take international best practice and bring it home to our South African context, creating world-class mixed-use precincts that offer a lifestyle on a par with the best in the world.”

The Amdec Group portfolio includes the award-winning Melrose Arch mixed-use precinct in Johannesburg, and The Yacht Club in Cape Town, their latest project, valued at R1.5bn.

“What we do best,” says Stopforth, “is ensure that investors – especially those who understand the successes of other similar mixed-use developments abroad – are able to access the same kind of quality and value locally, that international examples such as Hudson Yards is creating in New York City.”

Hudson Yards is a $25-billion (R360 billion) mixed-use redevelopment of more than 6,380m² of residential, office, retail and public green space spread across a footprint of just under 11ha. The first phase opened in March this year and current projections put nett revenue in excess of $21 billion (R300 billion) for the city, including more than 3,000 new residential units, accounting for 28% of all new housing in the area. It is also considered a “tech forward” development for its innovative sustainability and technology solutions.

Other successful examples of the kind of development that Harbour Arch represents, include Canary Wharf in London and Darling Harbour in Sydney. The Amdec Group’s Harbour Arch will revitalise an area of the Foreshore in similar fashion by breathing life into a largely underutilised part of the city.

“This area is out of step with the many new developments that are springing up in the CBD,” says Stopforth. “Harbour Arch will bring vibrancy to this area by creating a sought-after lifestyle that lets you live, work and spend your downtime in close proximity.”

Harbour Arch will span 5.8ha, with 2,500 residential units above an eighth floor public podium, with convenience retail, offices, and two Marriott International hotels. Some of the existing automotive showrooms will be accommodated on-site.

The Amdec Group employs extensive and innovative sustainability solutions at The Yacht Club and Melrose Arch developments, and Harbour Arch will run along the same lines. Upon completion, it will boast the latest in recycling, low-energy lighting and water-wise systems. It will make extensive use of natural light and even harness wind power from the southeaster. There are plans for a desalination plant of the kind currently in use at The Yacht Club, where it produces enough freshwater daily for the entire building, and there is sufficient capacity to service the buildings in its immediate surroundings, if needed.

Both in terms of connectivity, as well as safety and security, Harbour Arch will be on a par with the best of its international peers. Security is a major consideration for cities around the world. To this end, the state-of-the-art setup at Melrose Arch, which is already in operation at The Yacht Club, will also be implemented at Harbour Arch.

“For developers, these features have become standard and they form as much part of the planning and design of the precinct as the architecture. Our top priority is to keep people and places safe, but it also has implications for our purchasers and investors because they too should have confidence in the development,” says Stopforth.

The first tower at Harbour Arch is 95% sold out. This follows the success of The Yacht Club, where apartments launched at R48,000 per square metre in 2015 and increased in value to R75,000 per square metre by 2018, rising by an impressive 56%.

“Downturns in economic cycles are invariably followed by upturns, so it makes sense for us to build now, so that our purchasers and investors are in a favourable position when the recovery commences. It might seem counterintuitive, but that’s why it makes sense to buy into quality developments now, so that you can reap the rewards when the market recovers,” Stopforth concludes.