Pockets of Salt River, once a booming part of Cape Town due to its proximity to the CBD, have been revitalised under property developers whose foresight envisioned the creation of a contemporary place to live, work and play.
Bordering Woodstock, the area is part of a R20 billion urban renewal initiative across Cape Town. The Salt River urban renewal integrates several related projects that aim to increase and upgrade the current available space – from the renovation of industrial buildings and the upgrading of sidewalks to the creation of a community play park and art installations.
Dawie Swart from Investicore acquired 13 Brickfield Rd in May 2015 and together with Construct Capital, a Property Finance and Development company, have redeveloped it into a mixed commercial and retail space housing Deckle Edge, Bootleggers and the Woodstock Bakery, among a mix of creative businesses.
“I aim to create an environment that can accommodate an eclectic mix of businesses to serve the area. From a chef’s academy, art supply store and restaurants to innovative tech companies and other creative industries,” says Swart. He has already successfully redeveloped an old textile building at 97 Durham Avenue, now the home to Red and Yellow advertising school, Zando,
The Creamery, Get Wine and Devils Peak Taproom to name a few. There is a growing demand for this area from creatives, with the City Improvement District in place to help rejuvenate the area. “When we began converting buildings in Salt River, it was difficult to get people to see our vision, which required innovative funding solutions” comments Ryan Wintle from Construct Capital. “Financial backers were weary of funding developments in areas like Salt River, preferring to focus on more established nodes, but this has changed significantly over the last couple of years.”
But while many could not see the value in investing large amounts of capital in Salt River, Swart’s foresight has paid off. “The rentals are not inexpensive in Salt River, driven by the demand for alternative space, less traffic and congestion than the CBD and its proximity to the train station, which provides staff transport.”
Swart said that while Woodstock had many homes, Salt River was once the industrial heart of the City, with steel, textile and locomotive industries thriving due to access to rail services. “This means Salt River lends itself to redevelopment better than Woodstock, as industrial properties tend to be larger than Woodstock meaning that the land assembly process is easier and less invasive to existing residential residents”.
The redevelopment of 13 Brickfield Road is certain to accelerate the redevelopment of the Brickfield precinct which is set to become a well known and sought after creative hub. To accommodate this influx a 200 bay parking lot next to 13 Brickfield will provide off street parking and alleviate parking issues and create a thoroughfare for traffic for the employees in the area.
Established and thriving businesses in Salt River include Penny Pinchers and the Double Tree Upper Eastside Hotel.