Areas and Places News

Report highlights sustained confidence in development/business investment potential of Cape Town’s Central City

Cape Town CBD (credit: Ryan Warneke)

New property investment in the Cape Town Central City worth in excess of R5.7 billion was recorded in 2021, according to the 10th edition of the State of Cape Town Central City Report– A Year in Review (SCCR), published by the Cape Town Central City Improvement District (CCID).

A total of 28 developments came on stream in 2021 including 13 completed developments or redevelopments worth in excess of R2.5 billion, 12 projects that were under construction worth in excess of R1.7 billion and three projects in the planning phase worth in excess of R1.5 billion.

5 of the completed 13 property investments are either hotels or aparthotels, which have already opened. These include the aparthotel The Rockefeller (R500 million), Hotel Sky (R400 million), aparthotel BlackBrick Cape Town (R107 million), The Capital 15 on Orange (R20 million) and the Old Bank Hotel (value to be confirmed).

Of the projects still under construction in 2021, more than half were commercial buildings with only 2 commercial buildings completed during the year.

Data in the annual report – which is a sought-after investment tool to investors and developers – shows sustained confidence in the development and business investment potential of the Central City.

The resounding message emanating from this report on the CBD’s economic performance in 2021 remains positive”, says CCID Board Chairman, Rob Kane. “The Cape Town inner-city once again proved itself resilient in the face of economic hardship and uncertainty caused by the pandemic … The myriad residential and mixed-use properties coming onto the CBD property market indicate that developers are confidence there is a market for buyers”.


The retail sector, which makes up 1 163 of the 2 981 entities doing business in Cape Town’s CBD – remained stable during 2021 with a total of 81 new stores having opened last year, with 44 closing down, resulting in an overall increase of 37 retail entities. Retail confidence in the CBD rebounded in the final months of 2021 and has continued in 2022 with the majority of retailers surveyed in the CCID’s quarterly Business Confidence Index indicating that they were ‘satisfied’ with current business conditions.

The total volume of retail space in Cape Town’s CBD at the end of 2021 amounted to 271 040m2 – an 0.3% increase on 2020 following the completion of new developments. The total vacancy space – 26 747m2– amounted to 9.9% of the total retail space available, less than 2020’s vacancy rate of 11.5%.

Value of property

The most significant indicator of investor confidence in the Cape Town Central City is the sustained growth in the overall official value of all property in the CBD of more than R12.2 billion in 2016/17 to R43.8 billion in 2018/19, according to the City of Cape Town’s property evaluation.

In its assessment of the commercial sector, the report notes that Cape Town CBD office vacancy rates increased from 14.6 % in 2020 to 16.1 % in 2021, which is slightly higher than the national average of 16 %, prompting inner-city landlords to repurpose vacant space.

Office space in the CBD available for rent increased by 14 936 m² during 2021, due to a 14 306 m² increase in A-grade office space. Nevertheless, the Cape Town CBD offered the city’s most competitively priced premium office space in Q4 2021 at R195 per m².

NOTE: Harbour Arch, the R16 billion Amdec Group development in the Cape Town CBD falls just outside the CCID’s geographical footprint and is therefore excluded from the total value of new property investment in the inner city during 2021. All data contained in the SCCR 2021 only pertains to property and business in the CCID’s 1.6 k m² footprint.