Developments News

Heartwood Properties launches new hybrid office development in response to growing ‘zoom towns’

An artist's impression of Sunvlei in the Paardevlei precinct of Somerset West, just outside Cape Town.
An artist's impression of Sunvlei in the Paardevlei precinct of Somerset West, just outside Cape Town.

Somerset West has become one of the Western Cape’s leading semigration destinations, making it desirable for people who are looking to move away from the city in search for a better quality of life. The lockdown and remote working have only amplified the semigration trend but now, as many companies contemplate bringing employees back to the office, the big debate is on how to do so.  

4AX listed Heartwood Properties, who specialise in commercial office and industrial warehousing developments nationwide, have responded to the crisis by conducting market research among their tenants. The research showed that many of them were not planning to make a full return to the office, even when Covid-19 becomes a thing of the past but because of the human interaction that offices provide, they want a solution that would meet both demands.

Heartwood Properties are therefore launching a new hybrid office development called Sunvlei – a first of its kind to be built in South Arica.

The new office block will be situated in the Paardevlei precinct of Somerset West, just outside Cape Town and close to the Strand Beach and Paardevlei Nature Reserve. The area has already seen several exclusive residential estates and top schools built over the past few years and it also offers plenty of outdoor living space, proximity to world class wine estates and just 30-minutes outside of Cape Town’s CBD.  

Professionals realise they can have a work life balance. With the airport, sea, and mountains virtually on their doorstep, Somerset West is without a doubt an attractive location to set up the office of the future. One that is high-tech, safe, spacious, as comfortable as any home office, simply better” says Andrew Utterson, Director at Heartwood Properties.

Sunvlei is a 2 000m2, R57 million office development offering tenants access to innovative future-focused features such as electric vehicle charging bays, 100 solar panels, Tesla UPS battery system, ultra-high-speed Wi-Fi, a backup power generator, and backup water tanks.

The modern architecture, designed by locally based architect Bruce Wilson who is also responsible for the Sanctuary and Waterstone shopping malls in Somerset West, and exclusive designer interiors, headed up by Source IBA, will be modelled against some of the world’s best-looking airport lounges whose clean, contemporary designs rival some of the chicest of hotel lobbies. Source IBA have extensive experience designing interiors for retail, office, hospitality, and leisure developments not only in South Africa but across the African continent.

Our studio is excited to be a part of developing this hybrid environment. Our design goal is to extend the hybrid thinking to all aspects to deliver a brand-new experience. We are blurring the lines with many aspects in terms of inside versus outside; serviced versus self-help; private versus public; workspace versus hospitality and analogue versus digital. These are all to be completed to the highest level,” says Mardre Meyer, creative director of Source IBA.

The hybrid design will meet the demands of tenants, who are not looking to always have their entire staff compliment all under one roof. Sunvlei will consist of eight business suites, sized between 163 m2 to 233 m2, available to buy or rent with the ability to combine units and ranging in price from R17 862 per m2 to R19 213 per m2.

It will also house a 190m2 designer business lounge, with luxury finishes including meeting rooms, a coffee bar and zoom pods. This is available to the tenants’ remote workers to come to when they need to pay the occasional visit to the office.  

It is a little different from the co-working office model offered by the likes of WeWork and Regus in the sense that only employees of Heartwood tenants will have access to the co-working spaces. All tenants and their employees will be able to access the shared business lounge. In other words, clients get the best of both worlds with a combination of their own private space where they can create their own identity and manage their own facilities, but then also have the benefit of the use of a business lounge and meeting rooms,” explained Utterson.

All of Heartwood’s properties are developed in response to tenants’ requests via their tenant shareholder model. And so, despite having faced major challenges in 2020, Heartwood has managed to grow its property portfolio since first listing on the stock exchange in March 2018 from R121 million to R248 million in the past three years to February 2021. They plan to grow their portfolio to R1 billion in the next five years.

As zoom towns continue to grow in popularity, Heartwood plans to roll out their hybrid model in other popular de-centralized nodes, with Sunvlei set for completion near the end of 2022.

Other features include prime signage, ideal positioning opposite a Private Hospital and the Strand’s 18-hole golf course, easy access to the N2, twenty-five minutes to the airport, thirty-six basement parking bays, six motorcycle parking bays, sixty-nine secure parking bays, and that it is wheelchair friendly.