Cape Town Gets a New Face

Affordable housing at the centre of innovation

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For as long as anyone can remember, the entrance to Cape Town has been marred by an unmissable feature: the infamous incomplete bridge. An iconic part of the Mother City, it seems this will soon be replaced with a buzzing urban centre.

In early February, the City announced the winning bid in stage one of the bidding process for the Foreshore Freeway Precinct – the culmination of a year-long process. Seven proposals were submitted in early 2017, with six being chosen to be exhibited to the public. The winning bid was made by Mitchell Du Plessis Projects, trading as Mitchell Du Plessis Associates (MDA).

Where

According to the plans presented by MDA, the project will extend to four precincts covering approximately 6 hectares, namely the CTICC parking garage, the area between the existing bridges and DF Malan and Jan Smuts, the area between the existing freeways and Heerengracht and DF Malan, and the area between the existing freeways and Jan Smuts and Christiaan Barnard.

The proposed plans will feature new viaducts, higher than the existing freeways. This, according to MDA, will ensure that the development will have enough natural light and airflow. The 11 tower blocks, home to approximately 3 200 market-related residential units and at least 450 affordable residential units, will be built on podiums. These podiums will also provide partial support to the new freeway fly-overs.

According to the plans, the bulk of the affordable residential units will be located beneath the highway, along with parking, shops, and community facilities.

The proposal also puts forward plans to build ten more residential buildings hosting affordable units, on the Northern edge closest to the harbour. These will be located under or between the existing freeways between DF Malan and Christiaan Barnard.

The way forward

According to the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Transport and Urban Development, Councillor Brett Herron, the development will be the first time in a democratic South Africa that development on prime land will cater for all income groups in Cape Town CBD. “Once developed, the precinct will reshape how we live, move, interact, and work in this area. It will also have a significant impact on how we enter and exit the CBD,” he says.

If the project is approved through the necessary processes, construction is expected to start in 2020. It is projected to take ten years to complete.

The build costs to the core development – including the new highway infrastructure – is projected to be R8,3 billion. It is expected that the development will be largely self-funding. According to MDA’s proposal, the plan is to finance or cross-subsidise the new roads and affordable residential units through the development of upmarket and mid-market residential units.

Back in 2016, the City announced the need for a viable solution to Cape Town’s traffic congestion, lack of affordable housing, and lacking access to the CBD. It was with these guidelines that MDA’s proposal was ultimately selected. More recently, however, the issue of resources (specifically the oft-discussed water) has been thrust into the spotlight.

In response to this, the proposed development is ecologically sensitive. It will address the impact of the development on the environment with several water, energy and lighting design solutions. Features will include grey water recycling, rainwater harvesting, and water treatment systems. Additionally, the development includes measures to mitigate the impact of high winds and noise. Developers have also explained that the height of the towers have been planned in such a way as to preserve Table Mountain’s prominence upon entering the city.

Cape Town’s skyline is set to change in the coming years, with FWJK announcing several ambitious projects:

Zero-2-One is set to be the tallest building in Cape Town. Proposed to be built on the corner of Adderley and Strand Streets, the tower block will climb 42 storeys. The development is set to consist of 860 apartments, of which 312 will be affordable – at least in Cape Town terms – with starting prices set at around R800 000.

16 on Bree, a 35 storey retail and residential development is set to be built between Bree, Prestoch and Mechau streets. Consisting of 350 apartments, construction. is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.

The Vogue will be a 31 storey development, consisting of residential apartments and ground floor shops. Apartments will range from studio, one bed, two bed, and three bed units, along with  top-floor penthouse apartments. The skyscraper will be situated on the block bounded by Buitengracht, Prestwich, Mechau and Bree streets. Construction is expected to commence this year, with completion set for 2020.

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