Cape Town’s Waterfront - tourist mecca or commercial hub



The Waterfront lies adjacent to Cape Town’s harbour with magnificent seascapes on one side, and awe-inspiring mountains on the other. The area is renowned as a business hub, shoppers’ paradise or tourist playground. “The Waterfront as a whole is a development which has grown exponentially over the past twenty-odd years,” says Leon Breytenbach, National Manager of the Rawson Property Group’s commercial division. Not only can one indulge in retail therapy, feed the inner man, be entertained, visit museums or an aquarium, but one can also consider business premises of the highest calibre

Location and access

The Waterfront lies two and a half kilometres from Cape Town’s CBD, beside the working harbour and dockyard, thus being convenient for tourists arriving in passenger liners. Cape Town’s International Airport which may be accessed via the N2, is located 23 kilometres away. The Cape Town Convention Centre, which draws large crowds for numerous international events, is a short distance from the Waterfront and may also be reached by boat via the canal. “The suburban road infrastructure is good, although the traffic volume becomes heavy at peak periods, so look out for occasional traffic jams,” advises Breytenbach. The N1 and N2 freeways both serve the city, allowing easy access to outlying suburbs as well as to all areas of the country.  Spoornet runs regular passenger as well as cargo trains to Gauteng or beyond, for Cape Town is the second largest container handling port in Southern Africa.


The Waterfront offers several shopping areas which together boast over 450 shops. The Victoria Wharf offers a wide spectrum of high-end speciality shops, major retail outlets, food retailers, restaurants or fast food outlets but the Watershed showcases local craft items. The Alfred Mall and Pierhead has 21 speciality shops, boutiques as well as restaurants while the Clock Tower offers cultural stores, restaurants or coffee shops. At the V&A Food market all manner of regional delicacies, cheeses or artisanal breads, craft beer and ice cream are available.

There are several world-class hotels on the Waterfront, including Table Bay Hotel, The One & Only, Victoria & Alfred as well as the Cape Grace Hotel. Holiday or marina apartments besides permanent residential apartments are available, while there are a number of first rate spas or gyms. Healthcare professionals are available as is access to the Netcare Christiaan Barnard Hospital on the Foreshore or the Somerset Hospital in Greenpoint. “With regard to educational institutions, the Prestwich Road Primary School, Reddam House Private Secondary School, the UCT Graduate School of Business plus the Waterfront Theatre School are located in the area,” says Breytenbach. There is access to beaches nearby, such as Rocklands, as well as Graaff’s Pool. The MiCiti buses ply the area, while the Metrorail runs from Simon’s Town to the city centre. Minibus taxis are, as always, plentiful.

Facts and figures

The Waterfront offers a total of 126,853 square metres of office space according to the SAPOA Office Vacancy Report for the third quarter of 2017. Of this, prime space accounts for 51,000 square metres, A grade comprises of 69,555 square metres, while B grade makes up 6,298 square metres of space. Only 3,188 square metres of prime grade plus 1,207 square metres of B grade space are currently vacant. The present vacancy figure stands at 3.5%, fractionally higher than the 3.1% of nine months ago, yet one of the lowest in the country. Waterfront is not far behind Cape Town Central at 1.5%, Sunnyside in Pretoria at 1.7%, Walmer-Fairview in Port Elizabeth at 2.4%, Claremont in Cape Town at 2.9% and Umhlanga-La Lucia in KZN at 3.4%. Average rental costs for prime space are R235 per square metre while A grade cost R200 for a similar area.

Hope for the future

There is hope for the future, to quote the SAPOA Report: “Given the current trend of economic growth and structural growth constraints it is becoming increasingly hard to imagine the national office vacancy rates returning to mid-single digits within the next three years. That said, leasing opportunities do exist – evident in the fact that 24 out of 53 nodes reported improving occupancy rates over the past quarter and 23 nodes have vacancy rates of 8% and below (up from 19 in Q2 2017).”

“The Waterfront area is an excellent choice whether to relocate your business or invest in commercial property,” advises Breytenbach. 

Rawson Commercial currently has offices countrywide and looks forward to assisting you in finding the best property to meet your need. Please contact (021) 658 7100 and we will refer you to your nearest office.

Leon Breytenbach

Leave a comment

More Posts