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Cape Town: A choice address for living & working

by Alistair Anderson 31 May 2024
The Barracks

Three striking new residential and mixed-use buildings in Cape Town are set to change the inner-city skyline. 

While cities across the world grapple with low growth and high interest rate environments coupled with pressures on infrastructure, the demand for new living, office and mixed-use spaces in the Cape Town CBD is palpable with unique buildings like The Barracks and The Rubik adding to an already impressive property mix.

These new additions are thriving because of well-managed organisations such as the Cape Town Central City Improvement District (CCID) that work closely with local government to keep the city’s Central Business District safe, clean, with working infrastructure, and in a position to thrive.

The CCID, which was founded in 2000, is a not-for-profit private-public company that operates in a 1.6 km² geographical area in the Mother City’s traditional CBD. It is mandated by stakeholders to manage and promote what is known as “town” in partnership with the City of Cape Town.

The organisation - which has achieved a clean audit every year since inception - helped to turn around the inner city at a time when it was beset with crime, grime, and disinvestment. The heart of business in Cape Town is now a clean, safer, diverse, and vibrant area that is attracting a new generation of businesses, visitors, and residents.

“The CCID is visible on the streets of Cape Town. They are highly active in making the lives of businesses easier across the city,” says Casey Augoustides co-owner and co-developer of The Barracks, a mixed-use development in trendy Bree Street that was effectively born by happenstance.

Brothers Casey and Mike Augoustides, oversee Mike’s Sports, their family business which is currently housed at The Barracks. Since its establishment in 1949, the business’ warehouse was in Woodstock. Then Woodstock shifted from being a bustling industrial area to being one that fell to neglect and crime. 

By the late 1990s Mike’s Sports wanted out so in 2001 they moved their warehouse to the Cape Town CBD, to a building in Bree Street. This decision would prove to be special. While Woodstock would later be redeveloped and reenergised, the Augoustides brothers would buy the building in sections as they realised its development potential. 

Casey explains that they eventually broke ground in 2017. “With The Barracks, we believe we have created a structural marvel. It is essentially two buildings which are separated by an airgap. In this way the two sections are made to look clearly different but remain part of one dynamic development,” he says.

Having an address on Bree Street, the development now offers high-end commercial space and fully serviced 24/7 30 m² apartments, which are managed as aparthotels by TPF Hospitality.

A unique tenant is Light House Holistic, a 475 m² light-and-plant-filled wellness studio and wellness space (complete with a raised saltwater pool) that operates as a club on the building’s rooftop.

The Barracks offers over 60 studios, one- and two-bedroom apartments with selected units including a private balcony. “Guests staying in our studios and one-bedroom apartments can enjoy a complimentary breakfast daily from the restaurant on the lower floor,” says Casey.

The studio apartments are priced between R1 500 and R2 000 per night. The one- bedrooms start at about R2 100 per night while the two-bedrooms are around R2 900.

It seems the brothers may have just taken a very old building which had lost its identity and transformed it into something which is set to become a vibrant citizen of Cape Town, providing a variety of uses for those who live or work in the building and for those who visit it to use the wellness centre and other facilities, which include the buzzing restaurant Cowfish Bree Street.

The Rubik
The Rubik in Loop Street.


The persistent demand for high-quality new or re-developed office space in the city can be seen with launch of The Rubik, a mixed-use property brought by Abland, in conjunction with Nedbank CIB, Giflo Group and WBHO. They also appreciate the hard work of the CCID and the city of Cape Town, which helped to drive investments into the city.

The Rubik, like The Barracks, has a unique look, refreshing the Cape Town skyline. Designed by dhk Architects, this skyscraper is made up of stacked glass box volumes which pivot around a central axis, hence the name. These create colourful optical prisms of light for people who get to admire the building. Off-street parking is available at a cost.

The Rubik is at 17 Loop Street, at the corner of Riebeek Street. The tower is made up of an 11-storey base including retail on the ground and first floors, seven storeys of office space and nine residential levels. The residential space houses 87 high-end apartments, of which around 82 have already been sold. They have largely been sold to investors who plan to rent them out. The apartments range in size from one to two bedrooms to nine premium penthouses that have private terraces. The building also has a rooftop pool deck. There are expansive parking facilities. Residents will take occupancy from the end of April 2024.

The apartments are priced from R2.3 million upwards with the penthouses costing around R8m each. One luxurious apartment was sold R17 million.

Abland had previously developed 22 Bree Street with law firm Bowmans as the anchor tenant as well as 35 Lower Long with law firm ENS as the anchor. 

Grant Silverman, director at Abland says The Rubik, which is valued at R500 million, is a flagship building for the group. It was delayed by the pandemic, but this gave his team and partners time to improve the overall product, he says.

Abland is working to get the offices in the Rubik occupied and has been in talks with potential rental tenants and owner-occupiers. “The best would be owner-occupiers. We have been approached by a couple of groups who are interested in occupying the entire 4 800 m² office component. I believe it shows the strength of The Rubik,” Silverman says.

The premium-grade office space includes seven floors of 700 m² each, and its retail space can be broken up into two opportunities spanning 130 m² and 273 m².

The 400 m2 retail component of the Rubik will include coffee shops and other convenience retail. “The Rubik promises to be a success. It is a flagship development for us which we are very proud of. We feel people will be drawn to this excellent, premium grade building located in a well-run city. It offers high quality urban living within this evolving urban quarter of Cape Town,” says Silverman.

An artist's impression of 10ONV, a Blok development in Vredenburg Lane just off Long St.


A new entrant to residential developments in the Cape Town CBD is the Blok group which recently launched TENONV, an apartment block .

It is located at 10 Vredenburg Lane, a stone’s throw from The Company’s Garden and the historic city centre and is Blok’s 18th development and its first in Cape Town’s CBD.

Blok has previously built apartments in Sea Point. “After transforming the Atlantic Seaboard’s skyline, we’re now channelling our progressive and proven design philosophy into the heart of the city,” Blok CEO, Jacques van Embden says.

These are bold words but TENONV is set to attract people who are crazy about location and enjoy living in minimalist micro-apartments which offer high-quality essential services including showers, kitchenettes and storage space. 

The micro apartments are priced from R1.15m, the studios from R1.495m, compact one-bedrooms from R2.22m and normal one-bedrooms from R2.595m. The one-bedroom duplex apartments cost from R3.050m, while the two-bedrooms are from R3.995 and the two-bedroom duplexes are priced from R4.975m.

“Compact apartments are an innovative solution that reshape the way we envision city living. They combine the various elements of a home into a single space with a compact footprint, so it’s no wonder that they’ve taken the world by storm, from Tokyo to New York. We’re delighted to bring the concept to the heart of Cape Town,” van Embden says.

TENONV offers 24-hour security and concierge, a communal pool deck with views of Table Mountain, as well as on-site laundry facilities. The development includes a collection of 150 apartments, offering a selection of micro, studio, one- and two-bedroom homes. They are also pet-friendly, and situated within walking distance of The Company’s Garden, the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel, The Labia Theatre, The Houses of Parliament, High Court Chambers, the Western Cape Provincial Government, the Iziko South African National Gallery, and the Iziko South African Museum.

The Cape Town CBD’s property market is primed for growth, averaging 5 % annual capital appreciation – representing an astute long-term investment for savvy buyers, according to Blok. This is because of demand, strong developments, and superb property management from groups like Blok as well as City and infrastructure management by the likes of the CCID and the City.

Clearly, downtown Cape Town remains a hotspot for high-quality residential developments and modern living. It’s thanks to groups like the CCID which makes living, working, and playing in the Mother City’s CBD a delightful experience.

IMAGES: Ed Suter, supplied

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