Cape Town residents Dorothy Pieterson and Hilton Esau watch the sunrise from a bridge in Cape Town’s central business district in this February 14 2014 file photo.  Picture: THE TIMES
Cape Town residents Dorothy Pieterson and Hilton Esau watch the sunrise from a bridge in Cape Town’s central business district in this February 14 2014 file photo. Picture: THE TIMES

CAPE Town’s city centre will get a new landmark building following the auctioning of land for R86.5m‚ the new owners said.

Growthpoint Properties bought Site B‚ in Lower Long Street‚ from the City of Cape Town on Wednesday.

The 3,932m² has developable bulk of 17,500m² and borders the Investec and ENS buildings‚ both owned by Growthpoint.

"This site is in a highly attractive commercial area on the Cape Town foreshore. It is the final vacant site available to create a brand-new development and presents Growthpoint with the opportunity to develop an iconic building on the foreshore‚" said David Stoll‚ Growthpoint Cape Town regional head.

"We have not finalised plans for the development yet‚ but envisage a building that would include offices with ground-floor retail. We would also consider a client-driven development for the site. Either way‚ we will create a landmark building that will be an asset for the city‚ its people‚ the environment and its investor."

The new block‚ with a maximum height of 55m‚ will be the latest in a number of developments on the Foreshore‚ where more than R6bn has been invested since 2012.

The 2015 State of Cape Town Report‚ by the city’s central city improvement district (CCID)‚ showed that in that time property values in the city centre had risen to R24,483 per square metre.

Julian Sendin‚ a researcher at the nonprofit Ndifuna Ukwazi Trust‚ said the property and others in the city and its surrounds like it should be used for affordable housing instead.

Sendin also said that the city council was not meeting its constitutional obligations of providing affordable housing for the working class inside the CBD.

"That land is desperately needed to bring working-class black and coloured [people]‚ who were excluded‚ back to the city‚" Sendin said.

"None of what is planned for the land is towards the socioeconomic obligations of the state. Every piece of land has a value outside of just its rand value. It has a social value‚ a restitution value and an integration value‚ and those values are lost every time we sell off a piece of land."

All of this needed to be seen in the context where no affordable housing had been developed in the city centre in 22 years‚ even though it had been the city’s policy to do it‚ Sendin said.

In May‚ the Ndifuna Ukwazi Trust was part of a successful High Court bid that prevented the sale of the Tafelberg Remedial School in Sea Point‚ by the Western Cape government‚ to the Phyllis Jowell Jewish Day School for R135m.

Together with the Reclaim the City movement and residents in the area‚ it petitioned for the land to be developed for low-cost housing instead.

TMG Digital

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