The various sizes and styles of work space in the central city and surrounds offer something to suit almost every need and budget, from floors in the tallest green building in Africa to compact studios in historic buildings.
The market for office space is relatively stable, according to the Cape Town Office Market Report, produced by Baker Street Properties and JLL. In the CBD, developer interest is in converting office buildings to residential space, while many existing businesses are relocating to newer, upgraded offices within the area. It’s still a tenant’s market, says the report, but this could change if more buildings are converted.
Dave Russell, director of commercial leasing and sales at Baker Street, says that at 7.6% the office vacancy rate is the lowest in the country. “We have a shortage of large areas of space in the CBD. I believe the conversion of office space to residential will continue in parts of the city where the existing buildings lend themselves to it.”
He says traffic and transport is an issue. “Increasing congestion is a symptom of a successful city, however, the poor rail service really is a negative for any city wanting to be world class. This is a missed opportunity; unfortunately it’s in the hands of Transnet. This being said, the CBD continues to be a preferred location for office tenants.”
Joy Millar from property specialists Swindon says the influx of trendy bars, restaurants and niche boutique retail, in areas such as Bree and Shortmarket streets, has increased demand for 100-200m2 commercial spaces for restaurants and 40-100m2 for shops. There’s also been a rise in co-working spaces aimed at small business owners and freelancers, many of whom live in the city.
“The uptake of residential has a domino effect – people want to have good coffee shops downstairs, service retail and day-to-day goods within walking distance. The CBD and surrounds has grown in popularity because of the lifestyle. It has become safer and cleaner thanks to the efforts of the CCID, so investors are seeing attractive returns in a shorter space of time than other areas,” she says.