Green light for R14 billion Harbour Arch in Cape Town

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An artist impression showing buildings at R14 billion Harbour Arch mixed-use precinct in Cape Town, developed by Amdec Group. An artist impression showing buildings at R14 billion Harbour Arch mixed-use precinct in Cape Town, developed by Amdec Group.

Amdec Group, which co-owns the vibrant Melrose Arch in Johannesburg, today received approval from Municipal Planning Tribunal meeting to develop its ambitious R14 billion Harbour Arch mixed-use precinct in Cape Town.

The City of Cape Town has officially approved the Harbour Arch mixed-use development after years of delay.

The parcel of foreshore land, spanning 5.3 hectares, was previously owned by Transnet but has since been bought by Amdec for its R14-billion mixed-use development.

It will compete with the  V&A Waterfront for residential tenants. The waterfront, valued at nearly R20 billion, is SA’s most-valued commercial asset.

With 198 000m2 of usable space and six individual towers, the site will also be home to two new hotels, to be operated by Marriott International, long-standing partners of the Amdec Group.

James Wilson, CEO of the Amdec Group, said immediately after the meeting: “This is a big day for Cape Town and a big day for the Amdec Group. We are overjoyed at the City of Cape Town’s decision to support Harbour Arch, and we have no doubt that this project holds tremendous promise for the Mother City. Harbour Arch will create jobs and opportunities, boost investor confidence both locally and abroad, bolster our city's economy and benefit the Western Cape province as a whole.”

Social housing advocacy group Ndifuna Ukwazi has previously objected to a large mixed use development application brought by Amdec Property Development situated on what was once Transnet land on the Foreshore.

“The Harbour Arch development is unashamedly exclusive, and will entrench racial and class divisions that continue to suffocate Cape Town,” Ndifuna Ukwazi Attorney Jonty Cogger said.

In response to Ndifuna Ukwazi’s objection that Harbour Arch would be exclusionary, Amdec said it would build 1,000 affordable housing units offsite in the suburb of Ottery, 18km away.

Within the context of the burgeoning Cape Town CBD, Harbour Arch occupies a strategic position at the convergence of major access roads, with easy entry points to and from the N1 and N2 highways.

It represents a massive private sector investment into the city, estimated to create at least 13,000 construction jobs. Its credentials are further strengthened by the involvement of a reputable and committed developer.

Taking a bet on an economic recovery in SA over the next few years, Amdec, which developed Melrose Arch in Johannesburg, is trying to repeat its success in Cape Town with the development.

Evan Robins, listed property portfolio manager at Old Mutual Investment Group, said Amdec's decision to pull the trigger now may be perceived as bad timing.


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