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A look at the R16 billion mega-development in Cape Town


The first of six towers at a  new mixed-use precinct in Cape Town has “topped out” on the 23rd floor, 95 meters above ground, just 30 months after breaking ground.

“Reaching the highest point of Tower 1 at Harbour Arch represents a significant milestone in our construction journey,” said Nicholas Stopforth, managing director of Amdec Property Developments. “Despite an unforeseen delay following the outbreak of Covid-19 in 2020, work has advanced at pace and is on schedule for completion in May next year.

Main contractor, WBHO, had to endure several significant structural-engineering challenges, not least of which the deep ground-rock drilling and excavation required for the precinct’s 3-level super-basement, 11 meters below ground,” said Dale Blanchard, Contracts Director at WBHO.

“Working within a restricted space and access, 65,000 cubic meters of earth and 5 000 cubic meters of rock had to be removed during the excavation process.”

“The wind also played havoc with our construction program, particularly the higher up we went,” he said. “In one of the windiest years in Cape Town’s history, we’re thrilled that the team were still able to top out a structure of this enormity on time.”

With just under a year to go till completion,  it has also taken around three million man hours to get this far, with tens of thousands of people – including unskilled labourers, builders, tradesmen, technicians, engineers, and architects – working to bring this iconic landmark to fruition.

Harbour Arch Tower 1 comprises double-volume glass-fronted retail space at ground level – earmarked for exclusive motor dealerships and coffee shops – and further retail space on the eighth floor which will house restaurants with indoor and outdoor seating.

It will also include 1,188 parking bays across three basements and seven above-ground levels; and 560 residential apartments -82 inclusionary rental units, 158 studio apartments, 203 one-bedroom apartments, 58 two-bedroom apartments and 59 three-bedroom apartments.

There is also an open-air sundeck and swimming pool on the 18th floor, offering 360” degree mountain and harbour views.

“A multi-billion rand project of this magnitude requires the technical skill, expertise, and dedication of a highly specialized multi-disciplinary team,” said Stopforth. “The professional team has proven to be up for the task, while WBHO was an automatic first choice, having successfully constructed and delivered the Amdec Group’s R1.4 billion Yacht Club development back in 2017.”

This 16 billion development by the Amdec Group represents a significant private sector investment into the City of Cape Town. According to the Amdec Group CEO James Wilson, “more than 20,000 jobs are being created during the construction phase alone, with many more employment opportunities – especially in the tourism, hospitality and retail sectors – upon completion.”

Harbour Arch will create a new gateway to the Mother City. The completed precinct will comprise 6 towers spanning 200,000 sqm of usable space accommodating commercial offices and corporate headquarters; an urban park and shopping galleria at street level; an 8th floor open-air piazza lined with restaurants, coffee shops and cocktails bars; 2 Marriott branded hotels, with conferencing facilities; a flagship health and fitness club, and the largest selection of residential apartment in the CBD.

Read: A look at South Africa’s new R500 million shopping mall – opening in September

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