The rejuvenation of South Africa’s central business districts is well underway, with Cape Town’s Bree Street fast becoming the latest major business hub to emerge. The city’s latest – and largest – office development, Portside, has already attracted one of South Africa’s leading corporate law firms, Bowman Gilfillan, as a tenant.
As one of the main arteries into and out of the city, Bree Street is also becoming a retail, culinary and design centre, attracting many new cafes, boutiques and design-focused businesses. Faieda Jacobs from Old Mutual Properties, which owns Portside, says: “Our decision to locate Portside in the CBD was based on our belief that it is a quality environment for business.”
A growing trend
Rob Kane, chairperson of the Central City Improvement District (CCID) explains the trend: “The scale and scope of the investments tell a story of a city, which is truly open for business. Portside is a R1.6 billion investment while the development of Bowman Gilfillan offices is another R360 million investment in the Cape Town central city. With these major corporate construction developments, many of the area’s old buildings are being refurbished and we are seeing new food outlets opening in response to the uptick in development. These are all positive indicators of a healthy economy within the Cape Town Central City.”
With the emerging financial district on the foreshore and many other businesses in walking distance of Bree Street, it is the perfect location for people who work in the city to have meetings and to network, or simply grab a coffee or lunch. New venues open all the time as demand climbs. Café Frank, at the top of Bree St opposite the popular Jason’s Bakery, started as a kiosk and has recently expanded into a full scale sit-down restaurant. It is becoming a popular after-hours destination too, with Clarke’s Dining Rooms, Orphanage, &Union and French Toast offering night-time entertainment options.
There is also an explosion of creative businesses opening on the street, including some of South Africa’s leading local design brands like Skinnylaminx, Kirsten Goss and Missibaba.
“I am thrilled by the interest that Bree Street is receiving from property and business owners. CCID’s services support and augment the City of Cape Town’s safety and cleaning efforts in the central city, ensuring that the environment is well managed, that social development issues are addressed and that the city is promoted as a leading business destination. All of this means that new businesses coming into the area can be fully confident that they will be operating in a quality environment in the heart of the CBD, day and night.” says Kane.
As more businesses are enjoying the fruits of being located on this prime spot in the Cape Town CBD, developers are catching on to the trend and investing in the refurbishment and redevelopment of older buildings into brand new modern spaces. One example is the R12-million development at 107 Bree Street, which, once completed, will offer new retail and mixed use space on Bree Street.
“The developments and emerging, as well as established businesses, on Bree Street are a great example of a flourishing world class CBD,” concludes Kane.
Key factors in deciding where to locate a business
- Is the area clean and safe
- Does it offer easy access to highways
- Is it convenient for public transport systems