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Construction is set to imminently begin on what will be the first-of-its-kind in Africa – with completion estimated for the end of 2024.
The Fynbos is a 24-storey mixed-use building that is about to take up residence on Upper Bree Street in the heart of Cape Town’s CBD. Demolition of the old structure on the site is currently wrapping up – with all recyclable materials being saved for reuse (in keeping with The Fynbos’s Greenstar rating) – and protective IBR hoarding is being erected in preparation for the imminent ground-breaking as excavation starts on the three-level basement.
As part of an innovative urban project conceptualised by the developers of The Fynbos, Lurra Capital, before becoming reclaimed building materials, the existing derelict building on site was given a new lease on life, and turned into Cape Town’s first-ever curated pop-up urban street art gallery, boasting over 1 000 artworks by 120 invited graffiti artists.
Once completed, The Fynbos will feature 689 apartments, and include a rooftop sunset terrace with a lap pool and co-working space, a rooftop fitness centre, as well as a ground-floor plant-based restaurant, a tearoom, and a botanical bar. The building, which is currently undergoing Green Star accreditation, will be truly unique – a first-of-its-kind which blurs the lines between nature and the built environment – the first biophilic building on the African continent. Biophilic buildings incorporate things like natural lighting and ventilation, natural landscape features and other elements for creating a more productive and healthy built environment for people.
According to development managers Gardner Property Solutions, who are working with Lurra Capital in the development of the exceptional Fynbos building, water efficiency for the building will be improved through low-flow fittings, well-point filtration, and a sophisticated rainwater harvesting system which will be integrated into the unique cantilevered and staggered balcony design. Integrated PV solar panels will generate double the electricity quota needed to power the common areas, minimising fossil fuel consumption, and a central heated water system allows for economies of scale and avoids individual geysers. These energy savings will be passed back to the owners through reduced levies. Expansive windows and glass sliding doors, utilising specialized double glazing, overlooking panoramic views of mountain and city, will allow in abundant natural light. The double glazing reduces the amount of energy spent on heating in winter and acts as a sound softener.
Undoubtedly, one of the most exceptional sustainable design features at The Fynbos is its exterior, which will be draped in a 1200m2 vertical garden made up of 30 species of indigenous trees and 20 species of indigenous shrubs. The pioneering garden system at The Fynbos was designed by a specialist team of technical botanists and will see a specific configuration of vegetation monitored by a highly technical water and nutrient system with automated root scanners, monitored water content and drainage, as well as “flying” gardeners who will manage maintenance externally.
Added to this, The Fynbos will also boast a waterfall at the front reception of the building, which will provide white noise for the building’s inhabitants. This circular waterfall, set amidst the lush flowing foliage of The Fynbos, is the starting point of a unique water feature which will run from Buitengracht to Bree Street.
Property demand booms ahead of Cape Town’s ‘megalopolis’ predictions
“We are seeing robust interest in The Fynbos from local as well as foreign buyers and expats,” explains Paul Upton, head of developments for Dogon Group Properties. “In fact, sales have been so strong that the developers are considering increasing the price of the remaining units.”
Upton explains that ex-Gauteng residents and semigrants from other South African provinces are buying more properties in the Western Cape than ever before – snapping up properties close to good schools, amenities, and lifestyle offerings. “Over the next few years, Cape Town’s population is predicted to explode, with the Western Cape Government stating that by 2025 about 5,133,370 people are expected to live in the city. The projection is that within a generation, 10 million people will call the Mother City home.”
“This rising demand has led to an increase in property prices and a scarcity of stock in Cape Town’s suburbs. On occasions, demand has outstripped supply in some of the most desirable Cape Town areas, such as the southern suburbs, Atlantic seaboard, V&A Waterfront and the CBD. This means that the price of a home is that much more expensive in the Western Cape and that finding a quality option in the right area may be harder than many people think.”
Alexa Horne, Dogon MD confirms that the allure of the Cape has long been pulling families, professionals and retiring couples. The main reasons for this swell of relocations have historically been from people looking for a lifestyle change, and wanting quality of life in beautiful surroundings. “There are many other factors drawing people to the Cape. For starters, the Western Cape’s unemployment rate is six percentage points below the national average. Cape Town usually experiences load-shedding one stage lower than the rest of South Africa. The city is rated as Africa’s “tech capital” and has attracted the likes of Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Construct, and is home to almost 60% of South Africa’s start-ups.” Cape Town’s Mayor, Geordin Hill-Lewis, has highlighted some of the plans in place for Cape Town which include a ramp-up in infrastructure investment, billions in new direct investment for Cape Town’s economy over the next five years, sewer pipe replacement programmes, massive basic service delivery improvements, the introduction of the Law Enforcement Advancement Project, as well as other initiatives to address things such as transport, litter, housing, homelessness and more. A big one of course is the energy crisis and Cape Town has exciting plans afoot to meet its own energy needs which include a major tender for 200 megawatts of independent power and paying people for the power that they send back to the grid.