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Located just 10km from Cape Town’s city centre, Claremont CBD stands as a thriving mixed-use node, defining the economic pulse of the city’s Southern Suburbs.
This resilient area, well-connected to major roads, encompasses a diverse range of businesses, from retail and office spaces to a variety of residential apartments.
Despite the challenges brought on by Covid-19, Claremont CBD has not only recovered but is also witnessing an influx of new businesses, increased investment, and continuous growth, says Abdul Kerbelker, the executive manager of the Claremont Improvement District Company (CIDC).
CIDC plays an important role
The CIDC’s latest report for 2023 highlights its pivotal role in sustaining, growing, and developing this node. The CIDC collaborates closely with law enforcement agencies, property and business owners, and the local community to protect and enhance existing assets while attracting new investments, tenants, and customers.
“During the challenges posed by Covid-19 and lockdowns, the CIDC ensured uninterrupted urban management and social services,” says Kerbelker. “They also coordinated with local partners to address emerging issues and provided a stable environment for the business and residential sectors to recover. We are grateful to business owners who have played a vital role in Claremont CBD’s resilience. Currently, they are proactively addressing load shedding concerns.”
He says business activity has rebounded to pre-pandemic levels, with both office and retail spaces experiencing increased demand. This resurgence is driven by business process outsourcing and e-commerce companies, including call centres. Claremont CBD remains an attractive hub for financial services companies due to its quality of life, proximity to top-tier schools, and access to high-end residential areas.
The CIDC report, as of the current writing, reports that Claremont CBD is home to seven call centre operations employing over 2 100 people, while a vibrant and well-managed night-time economy enriches the social and cultural life of the community.
Property market shows resilience
Professor Francois Viruly, head of UCT’s Urban Real Estate Research Unit, says Claremont has a unique blend of residential and non-residential spaces. He predicts the suburb’s continued dominance in the Cape Town metropolitan area.
A telling sign of the CBD’s resilience is its increasing property valuations. Over the last decade, the combined value of residential and commercial properties nearly doubled, soaring from R4,49bn in 2012/13 to R8,85bn in 2022/23, marking a 97,1% increase. This is an impressive leap from the total valuation of just R1,4bn in 2004/05.
According to David Stoll, CIDC board chairman, the rebounding office rentals, increased residential apartment sales, and the return of office vacancy rates to pre-Covid-19 levels all indicate a burgeoning development phase in and around Claremont. Several major new developments are in the planning or proposal stages, expected to bring more businesses, residents, and visitors to the area.
Better public transport
According to Kerbelker, the proposed expansion of the MyCiTi bus service to Claremont CBD is set to make significant improvements to the area’s public transport interchange (PTI). This expansion will enhance accessibility, stimulating retail and business activities. Extending the MyCiTi service to the metro southeast, connecting Khayelitsha, Mitchells Plain, Wynberg, and Claremont, is not only expected to provide affordable and reliable access for employees, students, and visitors but also to benefit businesses along the route. Moreover, the potential release of several City-owned vacant plots near the new PTI is likely to encourage increased commercial developments, he says.
The upcoming MyCiTi station will be centrally located, within walking distance of student housing, shopping centres, and other amenities. Positioned only a block away from Main Road, Claremont’s main artery connecting the area to Cape Town CBD, this new station will offer commuters a choice of five different public transport modes, all within a radius of less than 120m.