Philippi Village – Reimagining Philippi; Reimagining solutions | Everything Property

Philippi Village – Reimagining Philippi; Reimagining solutions


In a struggling economy characterised by a cost-of-living crisis, high inflation and persistently high unemployment, providing a boost to SA’s township economies is critically important.

Townships have over time developed their own vibrant economies. However, they face several challenges including a lack of financial support, insufficient investment and inadequate access to skills training.

While the spatial inequalities that characterise townships will take time to overcome, there is a growing recognition that more needs to be done to improve the return on investment for young township entrepreneurs and to allow better accesses to services.

In 2022, the Gauteng Legislature passed the Township Economic Development Bill aimed at changing the economic geography of the province’s townships and informal settlements by providing a platform to link SMEs to clusters of township suppliers. Organisations such as The Township Project have been established to act as facilitators to help township entrepreneurs, while various hubs provide entrepreneurial support. Mobile network providers, meanwhile, are also ramping up their investments in townships.

A key element of addressing SA’s unemployment challenge is to encourage the growth of both small and large businesses in townships, including labour intensive businesses capable of absorbing the different skill levels available amongst the unemployed population. For that, affordable commercial rental space needs to be made available to township entrepreneurs.

An innovative project in the Cape Flats township of Philippi is offering just this. An integrated, mixed-use development, Philippi Village is breaking down traditional township spatial divides. Within easy access of the N2, Cape Town International Airport and the city of Cape Town, the development includes more than 10 000 square metres of lettable space. Philippi Village’s Business Hub includes 54 spaces for affordable rental as office or workshop space, or conference space for small businesses and emerging entrepreneurs. The Container Walk, on the other hand, provides six and 12-metre converted containers for communal workspaces, offices or storage space.

Rental prices are highly competitive, particularly when compared to nearby retail spaces. While rental prices at Philippi Village’s business hub start at R125.97 per square metre (excluding vat), rentals at similar sized spaces in the area are priced at more than double this. Container rentals at Philippi Village are even more affordable, starting at just R1,260 (ex vat) per month while rentals at Philippi Village’s Eduzone Building start at R40 per square metre. Leases are offered on a 12, 24 or 36 month basis. Land leases are considered should a tenant wish to bring their own customised container to trade from.

Each unit has Wi-Fi capability and its own pre-paid electricity to allow tenants to manage their own electricity costs. A back-up generator is available during load shedding. Cleaning services and overnight parking are available at an additional cost.

The development prioritises safety and security. Philippi Village enjoys 24/7 security services. Biometric access is required both at the main entrance to the development and in order to access the Business Hub.

Current tenants provide tech support, health and beauty services, financial services and educational services including tutoring and aftercare.

Tenants benefit from an onsite coffee shop, a conference room, meeting rooms, an amphitheatre, a film shoot site, a library and a number of sports facilities including a running track and soccer fields, as well as a learning garden.

“Philippi Village is an exciting, multi-dimensional business and community hub in the heart of Philippi. We are co-creating a safe and inspiring space,” reveals Bushra Razack, CEO of Philippi Village. “Currently, the village is home to over 80 tenants providing products, services and training opportunities as well as job opportunities to the local community.”

Razack says there is no reason that the highly successful model on which Philippi Village is based could not be rolled out in other townships.

“What is really exciting is the potential for meaningful and sustainable change that a development like Philippi Village offers,” she says, adding that in a remarkably short space of time, Philippi Village is becoming the connective tissue that links entrepreneurs, small business owners and the local community together. These connections allow for people to come together, engage, celebrate and create shared experiences. Creating safe and inspiring community spaces is a social and economic development strategy.

“The local community is provided with easily accessible employment opportunities, training and development and health and wellness services. Ultimately, Philippi Village is the connector that links proximity to challenges with the opportunity to reimagine solutions,” she concludes.

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