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Central City icon One Thibault set to become standout mixed-use development

by Sharon Sorour-Morris 27 Jul 2021
One Thibault

The conversion of One Thibault into a mixed-use development is set to redefine one of Cape Town’s iconic commercial buildings and establish the Foreshore as a prominent downtown residential hub.

With 75 % of residential units sold to date, the redevelopment of the iconic Cape Town Central City tower 1 Thibault Square – to be known as One Thibault – is set to transform it into the tallest residential development in Cape Town.

With the intent of luring a new generation of city dwellers and investors to the Foreshore precinct, the upper half of One Thibault is being transformed by Thibault Investments into a range of apartments with the rest of the building earmarked for offices and retail space.

A total of 170 bespoke units, including studio, one- and two-bedroomed fully serviced units, are on offer to purchase sectional title, with a starting price of R895 000. The apartments range in size from 19 m² to 60 m². They will occupy floors 15 to 20 of the building, are being redesigned by Vivid Architects and can be bought fully furnished with bespoke furnishings. Other features of the development include an on-site restaurant, co-working space, storage space, high-speed internet, a pool deck, 24-hour security and concierge, parking, and laundry facilities.

The commercial section of One Thibault – which will occupy floors 1 to 14 – will be upgraded, “offering modern offices for attractive rental prices with stunning views of the city”.

The planned pool deck of One Thibault, set to become the highest residential tower in town.


Steven Herring, CEO of Thibault Investments, told Business Day recently One Thibault was the company’s fifth residential project. “We will be very competitive on all fronts … we are long-term holders of this asset.”

He said while the South African residential market was strong it was “price and rent sensitive”. “It’s a deep market and there is lots of demand, but pricing is key.”

The apartments on floors 21 to 28 can also be rented: rentals will start at R6 000 a month for a studio apartment, climbing to R12 000 a month for two-bedroom units, which will have some of the best views in the city. Hospitality management company WINK Aparthotels will provide on-site administration of all units, giving investors peace of mind and giving them a guaranteed rental income of 6 % for the first year.

Grant Elliott, Thibault Investments' chief operating officer, confirmed that the first units should be completed in Quarter Three of 2022. He says: "We are thrilled to have acquired the prestigious address of One Thibault, and are excited to be undertaking its redevelopment. We look forward to doing our bit to bring more permanent residents to Cape Town's vibrant Central City."

An artist's impression of a completed residential unit in One Thibault.


The conversion of the 126-metre building – which has been a feature of the CBD for decades – into a mixed-use development bodes well for the Foreshore, the city’s “financial” precinct that is fast becoming one of the CBD’s sought-after residential hubs. Its conversion follows the trend set by the R373 million redevelopment of the nearby Absa Building into a mixed-use development, Foreshore Place. Studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments are also on offer in this development, with a starting price of R1.164 million.

Other developments with a residential component that have already changed the face of the Foreshore include the residential mixed-use development The Onyx and The Halyard (R400 million). Following hot on their heels are The Duke (R210 million) and 16 on Bree (R860 million). Two further developments, Fleetway House (R60 million) and The Rockefeller (R500 million) are both under construction.

Currently, there are nine residential buildings on the Foreshore, amounting to 13 % of the total residential complexes in the Central City and housing just over 1 000 residential units. The three largest residential units are the Icon building, The Onyx and The Heriot, which is also on Thibault Square, opposite One Thibault.


Thibault Square on the Foreshore.


One Thibault has been a fitting home for the offices of the Cape Town Central City Improvement District for five years.

Designed by the late, renowned South African architect Revel Fox (of Revel Fox & Partners, still in business today), it was completed in 1972 after three years of construction. A defining feature of the Cape Town CBD skyline, many Capetonians recognise it but, depending on age, all have their own term of reference for it. The BP Tower. The LG Building. The one with the Standard Bank sign on top.

Originally named the BP Centre and incorporating the low-lying buildings that surround and link to it on Thibault Square, the tower block – standing at 423 ft – was the tallest building in the Central City until 2014 when Portside opened on Bree Street. In 1973, it won a medal as the best example of architecture in the Cape Province. In 2000, following a national survey by the South African Institute of Architecture, it was selected as one of the country’s “good buildings”.

Built for R8 million by (then) Murray & Stewart, the tower sits at a jaunty 45-degree twist to the rectangular grid of the surrounding streets; the intention not only to add interest but to place it on a north-south axis, which minimises the sun load on the facades and consequently reduces air conditioning running costs.

The twist also enables all offices – and, in future, apartment units – to have a view of either the harbour or across the CBD towards the mountain, giving occupants a unique outlook between the neighbouring buildings rather than directly at them. It’s a major bonus for the CCID staff, who each have a superb view of their downtown.

To shield the windows on the east, north and west from the sun, a precast screen was mounted on every floor of the 32-storey office tower. These screens stand away from the sides of the building to allow air to flow behind them and reflect additional light into the offices while cutting off the sun’s direct rays. The facade consists of precast column and beam liners with an exposed aggregate grey stone.

The dramatic double-volume foyer was an innovation in itself, contained within a large circular frameless glass drum suspended from a steel ring attached to the underside of the structure. The low-rise building adjacent to the tower, now the offices of Standard Bank Thibault Square branch, originally contained a private cinema, exhibition and conference rooms, and additional offices for use by BP, the building’s original anchor tenant.

In 2006, the building was sold along with two other office buildings in Cape Town for R300m and was at the time the largest grade-A commercial property in the city. Until very recently, the building was managed by Redefine and received an extensive upgrade of R25m from its previous owners in 2011.

  • This section (above) of the article first appeared in the April/May 2015 issue of the CCID's quarterly newspaper, City Views