The developers behind Somerset West’s acclaimed Waterstone Village are celebrating the opening of their anticipated destination centre, a R400-million mixed-use retail and convenience development called The Sanctuary.
Anchored on the corner of the R44 and De Beers Avenue, the three-storey building offers 8,000m² of retail space on the ground floor, with a further 8,000m² of optic fibre-connected office space and a Virgin Active gym on floors one and two.
Designed by SVA International Cape Town, The Sanctuary boasts the first formalised restaurant node for Somerset West, bringing with it popular Gauteng steakhouse franchise, Turn ‘n Tender – a first for the Western Cape.
Residents will no longer need to drive to Stellenbosch to experience the popular Java and Craft restaurants, as these two brands are also set to open before the end of the year. Other eateries include the popular Casa Bella and the new-look Cape Town Fish Market, Crème De Levain artisan bakery and patisserie, and Simply Greek (opening in January 2017).
In addition to acclaim for several malls in its portfolio, Abacus recently scooped the top honors for its mixed-use retail development in Johannesburg, Dainfern Square, at the SA Council of Shopping Centres’ (SACSC) annual Retail Design and Development Awards.
Adding to the centre’s appeal, say developers, is The Sanctuary’s scenic setting. Restaurants spill onto an outdoor deck, which overlooks a rehabilitated water body.
Speaking about the uniqueness of the development, Abacus managing director Gavin Blows said a fibre optic backbone meant high-speed connectivity for stores and office tenants alike, with 100Mbps speed and 250MB of free Wi-Fi data available to shoppers daily.
“This is a continuation of our national partnership with Vodacom, which has resulted in cost-effective connectivity not only for office and retail tenants, but also for surrounding developments,” he said.
Abacus chairman Jaco Odendaal said there was an increasing demand for boutique convenience shopping centres servicing high-income suburbs.
“The Sanctuary combines a scenic setting with high-speed connectivity and high-end retail. It’s also the first restaurant node for Somerset West, which is a great drawcard.”
Odendaal said the development also catered to the high demand for premium office space in the area and the growth in the residential market.
“Our AAA-grade office space features break-away areas for office staff, including Zen gardens,” he said, adding that the on-site gym provided easy access to a healthy lifestyle.
“Bringing the popular Turn ‘n Tender steakhouse franchise to The Sanctuary, which is their first offering in the Western Cape, is supported by our research indicating an under-supply of quality dining prospects in the Somerset West and Strand areas.”
Designed to be sensitive to the water body that borders the centre, the wooden decks and re-tractable shopfronts allow restaurants to trade internally or externally, depending on the weather.
The water body, which serves as a storm water retention facility, has been rehabilitated, with the developers having removed tons of polluted soil and implemented a water and landscaping maintenance programme to ensure the natural environment can propagate and provide a sanctuary for birdlife in the area. A built path that meanders around the edge allows bird watchers access to all sides and includes rest areas and benches.
“There will be ongoing monitoring of fauna – specifically birds – in partnership with local stakeholders,” said Blows.
Abacus Asset Management leasing director Eradus van Antwerpen said the centre would primarily serve Somerset West, Strand and Gordon’s Bay residents. It was the first restaurant hub for Somerset West, he said, adding that the centre would boast extended trading hours and a safe trading environment along a high traffic node.
“A key feature for business tenants at the centre was the high-speed connectivity and its convenient location just 20 minutes’ drive from Cape Town International Airport”, he added.
“As with all new Abacus developments, the shopping centre is fully networked with optic fibre. Vodacom will provide voice and data services to all retail and office tenants with speeds far in excess of what is currently available,” said Van Antwerpen.