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PROPERTY: Century City Outperforms Office Market


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THE latest SAPOA office vacancy survey shows that while vacancies in six out of the seven Cape Town offices nodes rose in the fourth quarter of 2011, Century City bucked the trend with vacancy levels falling to 8.5% from a high of 12.9 percent in August 2009.

The Cape Town office vacancy factor overall rose to 10.5% in the same time.

Giles Balmer of Rabie Property Group, developers of Century City, says this is even more spectacular given the fact that the size of the Century City office market has ballooned to 243 488 sq m of office space against a mere 83 003 sq m when Rabie acquired the undeveloped land and associated rights in June 2004.

Currently only 20 889 sq m of offices remain to be let in the precinct so the total take-up since June 2004 amounts to around 150 000 sq m giving an average annual take up of 20 000 sq m per year over the past seven and a half years.”

Balmer says they know of no other office node in the country to experience this level of growth over this period.

He points out that the bulk of new space at Century City came on stream between June 2006 and September 2008 - a period when the node grew from 96 978 sq m to more than 206 000 sq m.

Factors contributing to Century City’s growing popularity as an office destination is its central location, its integrated new urbanist lifestyle, its high level of infrastructure, security and services; its extensive public transport offer and the wide range of world class leisure, sports and retail amenities, including Canal Walk shopping centre, all in easy walking distance, according to Balmer.

The launch of Century City Connect, the first open access fibre optic network of its kind in South Africa, is certain to add to its appeal particularly among companies with large broadband requirements.

Century City Connect is providing the country’s fastest, carrier neutral ‘last mile’ open access network over which a select number of Internet Service Providers are offering those living and working in the 250ha precinct the fastest voice, broadband and multi-media services. Because Century City’s fibre optic backbone is carrier neutral, clients are able to choose which of the accredited Internet Service Provider’s (ISPs) packages best suits them in terms of voice, broadband and multi-media services as well as cost,” he said

Balmer says while Century City has mushroomed in recent years, there is still a long way to go.

It has total development rights of around 1.3 million sq m of bulk including a total of 591 180 sq m of office space so what is here now is less than half that of when it is fully developed,” says Balmer.

He says that with its basket of rights, Century City is in the enviable position of being able to respond to cycles within the different sectors of the property market as these cycles tend to follow each other rather than overlap.

Continued demand for office space in the precinct has prompted significant new development and 14 years after it was launched the Century City development has matured significantly with a multi tier office market having emerged giving buyers and tenants a much broader choice of product.”

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