Growthpoint Properties is moving ahead with its final improvement to the historic Longkloof precinct in Cape Town – a development of the Canopy by Hilton Cape Town Longkloof Hotel.
The project was originally planned for completion towards the end of 2021, but it was put on hold as South Africa navigated a period of uncertainty. With increased tourism in Cape Town and an upswing in economic activity within the city, Growthpoint has decided to get the project back on track.
The heritage-led project to revitalise the Longkloof Precinct includes the renovation of several Growthpoint-owned buildings and the creation of an attractive public yard that connects to the city via four different access points. The REIT’s vision was to reimagine the six buildings and vacant parking lot that are made up of a historical school and a historical industrial building with its boiler room as a modern and trendy mixed-use precinct that embodies the essence of the city in something new and exciting, yet respectful of its heritage.
The plans were developed and refined over several years before work began in 2019, and most elements, with the exception of the hotel, were completed in 2021, creating unique offices now occupied generally by entrepreneurs, tech, and marketing-related companies.
One of the highlight features of the precinct is the 150-room Canopy by Hilton Cape Town Longkloof Hotel, the first of its kind in Africa, which leads out onto the public yard offering curated ground-level retail. The façade of the former MLT House, the structure of which is being incorporated into the hotel, has been carefully preserved and integrated into the new design.
“The hotel will round off the precinct, which is now ready for it. It will complement the mix of uses and tenancies there,” says Timothy Irvine, Growthpoint Regional Asset Manager for the Western Cape.
These include tech-orientated and entrepreneurial businesses as well as Workshop17, which is now expanding. Workshop17 is located in 32 on Kloof, which was the first building in the precinct to be renovated and which opened its doors in August 2019.
The building known as the Refinery, a Herbet Baker-designed historical school building, underwent a modernisation of its services. The buildings known as Darter Studio and Threshers Studio, in deference to their surroundings and former use, were also revamped to create connected office buildings which have proven popular with creative and tech businesses.
There is a total of just under 17 000m2 of space available in Longkloof, of which some 16 600m2 is occupied.
The public yard functions as a central space, along with its connectors into the rest of the city. It was important that it should be accessible to the general public, as something that anyone in the city could enjoy. A new coffee shop, Vine & Dandy, has now opened there, enlivening the space.
Irvine believes that the completion of the hotel and its operation under the Hilton Canopy brand will round out the special appeal of the precinct. Careful consideration of the precinct parking requirements and the addition of another 150 underground parking bays to the others in the precinct bolsters the attractiveness of what has already become one of the ultimate spots in Cape Town.