Cape Town's Central City at the heart of innovation

07 August 2015 - 02:00 By Nicola Jenvey
South Africa, Cape Town. Aerial view of Cape Town looking directly towards the City Bowl.
South Africa, Cape Town. Aerial view of Cape Town looking directly towards the City Bowl.
Image: Mark Skinner

Synonymous with vibrant open spaces dotted among a mix of historic, redeveloped and modern buildings home to businesses and residents alike, Cape Town's Central City never ceased innovating.

"Ongoing redevelopment and transformation was spearheaded by converting offices into residential properties of iconic, landmark buildings like Mutual Heights and Cartwrights Corner.

"Both were sold out within weeks, demonstrating the pent-up demand for central city living sparked by a trend that at its height saw Mandela Rhodes Place launched in 2006," Pam Golding Property group CEO Andrew Golding says.

In the past decade the heart of the city had become "a thriving hub pulsing with life and activity", embraced by growing numbers of new residents, investors, businesses and tourists.


Golding says an endorsement of Cape Town's continued global appeal was the recent announcement it had retained its top position for African business events on the 2014 International Congress and Convention Association Country and City rankings.

"Cape Town's reputation is not just locally driven, but the city draws interest from across the globe including wealthy African buyers," Seeff chairman Samuel Seeff says.

"When you want to attract people back into a central business district (CBD), one of the first things after you have cleaned up the area and ensured their safety, is providing public spaces where people can spend time outdoors," Cape Town Central City Improvement District chairman Rob Kane says.

He says the city was proud the Central City was successfully achieving this goal, not only via beautiful public squares with art installations, but through activities like First Thursdays and the Saturday City Walk on the third Saturday each month.

"This increases people's desirability to live and work in town and speaks to the true downtown lifestyle you find in the world's major cities that have strong residential components," he says.

In terms of public art, Kane says alongside the numerous art installations that have been in the area for decades, there were new pieces being installed. One example was the recent installation of the late Paul du Toit's "Into Tomorrow" piece on Riebeek Square.

However, he says the improvement district also encouraged the work of graffiti or street artists and wanted to businesses to consider how these pieces could become part of beautification for the Cape Town CBD.


This article was originally published in Sunday Times Neighbourhood: Cape Town. Visit, like YourNeighbourhoodZA on Facebook and follow YourHoodZA on Twitter.