Developments News

Maitland’s R1.2bn urban renewal initiative underway

An aerial photograph of Maitland Metro Precinct.

A major R1.2 billion urban renewal project is underway in Maitland’s south-western node, at the gateway to Cape Town’s Voortrekker Road development corridor. The project has been designed to unlock the area’s potential, just five kilometres from the CBD, through the delivery of new inclusionary housing and commercial developments.

Construction on the first of the seven new buildings is complete, which will collectively deliver more than 50 000m2 of mixed-use development bulk, adding at least 1 200 residential opportunities aimed at low-to-middle income households.

The first of these developments, The Prime, is a bold and contemporary eight-storey building that offers 143 new apartments which was completed in November 2021 and is now fully tenanted, several months ahead of schedule.

Designed by Toro Design & Architecture, The Prime provides cost-effective but dignified living spaces and attractive on-site amenities. Lead Architect Katlego Motene elaborates: “The external materials are informed by the face brick predominant in the surrounding building fabric, giving expression to a more contemporary form with curvilinear corners to soften jarring property boundaries”.

The interiors have been carefully considered with the intent to produce an elegant, yet robust and affordable residential offering,” he adds.

The accommodation floors are serviced by two lifts accessed from a secure, permanently manned reception lobby off Camp Road. Fibre optic connectivity and satellite television ports are pre-installed in all apartments.

The Prime features an OK Minimark, a coffee shop, and other retail convenience on the ground floor, as well as a residents’ courtyard and laundromat on the first floor. Many of the apartments offer outstanding views of Table Mountain and Table Bay.

The second major development in the precinct, Maitland Mews, is a R93 million social housing project which will deliver an additional 204 affordable rental units which is scheduled for completion in January 2023.

The initiative is branded as Maitland Metro, and it is being spearheaded by BlueBuck Projects with cooperation from national and local government authorities and in collaboration with Madulammoho Housing Association and The Maitland City Improvement District.

Follow up projects scheduled to commence in 2023 include a new 200-unit residential building a further mixed-use development with retail and commercial opportunities.

Maitland Metro: an integrated, mixed-use node

BlueBuck Projects has secured eight properties within a 300-metre radius of the Voortrekker and Koeberg Road intersection, close to the M5 fly-over. The precinct is less than 7km by car to the Golden Acre in the CBD, UCT’s main campus, Gunners Circle in Epping, and Century City, and it connects to Salt River and Woodstock via the Salt River bridge.

We have branded the node ‘Maitland Metro’. The name underlines our intent to create a vibrant new residential and business district within the suburb, and help Maitland play a critical linking role between the city centre and the eastern suburbs”, says BlueBuck Development Manager, Vuyo Mthi.

Maitland Metro has been designed to solidify the connection to Salt River and Woodstock via the Salt River bridge and forms the platform for future connection with Observatory via the City’s planned extension of Berkeley Road across the Black River”.

Inclusionary housing close to the city centre

In this vital linking zone, we are pleased to be repurposing a predominantly industrial area for mixed-used residential living, meaning there is no displacement of an existing community”.

In fact, our primary objective is to develop significant new inclusionary housing opportunities near the city centre. South Africa’s recent public and private housing strategy has over-emphasised mega projects placed in urban peripheries. These have forced lower income households away from amenities and exacerbated urban sprawl”.

In contrast, Maitland is centrally located in Cape Town, has exceptional public transport options, and is already a mixed-use suburb consisting of residential, industrial, commercial, educational and community properties and amenities. These factors all make Maitland Metro an excellent location for inclusionary housing.”

Urban design framework by dhk Architects

We have commenced work on an integrated programme of urban renewal, in collaboration with the City of Cape Town, the Maitland City Improvement District and other land-owners in the area,” said BlueBuck Projects Managing Director, Shaun Reznik.

Our vision for the node has been focused on by dhk Architects and Urban Planners, whose urban design framework is based on the idea of creating a safe, diverse, and inclusionary residential and working neighbourhood, with a unique sense of place at an appropriate human scale”.

Significant new employment opportunities

We are committed to achieving this goal in the context of a mixed-use node in which commercial development will simultaneously create employment opportunities for residents. This will transform the precinct into a re-energised hub of economic activity and an attractive place to live, work and play”.

The priorities for the area are affordability, security, safe recreational areas for both children and adults, and easy access to needed shops and amenities. City planning officials have been fully supportive of the Maitland Metro initiative as it embodies the concept of an intensified, affordable, mixed-use gateway node into the Voortrekker Road Corridor from the west, as contained in the draft Table Bay District Spatial Development Framework.”

Reznik says that although their primary mandate was to provide inclusionary housing close to work opportunities in Cape Town, their plan incorporated a mixed-use node that would attract a host of new businesses and employers into the precinct.

The area is perfect for HR-intensive operations such as call centres. We’ve already seen how well this can work in the area, as the 2 000-employee Capita call centre proves, and we will provide new space for call centre operators who will have the added benefit of dignified housing opportunities for their employees in the building next door.”

Giles Balmer, of the Cardinal Property Group, confirmed that Maitland Metro is ideally placed to accommodate the increase in the Western Cape’s burgeoning call centre activity.

South Africa has just been rated the No. 1 Offshore Contact Centre Delivery Location in the world by Ryan Strategic Advisory, overtaking traditional centres such as the Philippines and India. We anticipate that this success will continue in the post-Covid era as South Africa cements its reputation as the preferred destination for not only English but additional European, Australian, and American clients”.

Locally the Western Cape makes up approximately 57% of international call centre activity in South Africa. Currently, some 67 555 agents are employed here, and this figure is anticipated to increase by a further 80 000 agents over the next 24 months”.

We are working alongside Cape BPO to identify contact centre investors, who will be able to secure existing or new build premises, ranging from 500m2 to over 10,000m2, and within their targeted budgets,” Balmer added.

Upgraded urban square, pocket parks and green public spaces

The urban design framework incorporates a landscaping and greening component, including a public plaza on Camp Road, extensive greened pedestrian walkways, pocket parks, and a park will be developed under the M5 flyover to activate this neglected space so that it can host a variety of recreational activities such as mini basketball, chess, mini football, and mini soccer.

In partnership with the City of Cape Town, play infrastructure, street furniture and lighting will be incorporated to make these public spaces safe and usable, together with large feature trees for shade.