Cape Town - A R1.1 billion development was unveiled by the V&A Waterfront today.
The V&A Waterfront Canal District, an 8.4 hectare, mixed-use development straddling the Dock Road entrance, includes a 1.2 hectare public-access urban park.
The area consists of commercial and retail space at Waterway House, a new parking facility, the City Lodge Hotel, a film studio and an urban park developed around the remnants of the historical Amsterdam Battery.
A residential development is also planned for the area.
In 2014, the V&A Waterfront acquired the old Queen’s Hotel and Amway buildings and these will be redeveloped as part of the Canal District.
The Canal District had been of strategic importance until the Amsterdam Battery was disbanded in 1898.
After World War II, extensive land reclamation from the sea to build a deep water harbour shifted the Table Bay coastline a significant distance away and the area subsequently fell into disuse.
At the time that the V&A Waterfront commenced development in the area it was being used as a car park and occasionally for events.
The district provides the first point of contact for visitors entering the V&A Waterfront from the city, creating a link to Dock Road in the Waterfront from the CBD via Buitengracht Street or Alfred Street and from the Prestwich area via Ebenezer Road.
The Waterway House building is the largest in the Canal District and comprises two office blocks connected by a walkway.
The south block houses the head office of multinational company British American Tobacco, while the north is occupied by Ernst & Young and Stonehage Fleming.
A four-level parking garage will add an additional 1 204 new parking bays to the area.
The Dock Road Junction entrance is still under construction, so only the Alfred Road entrance is open.
The Canal District and Amsterdam Battery Park are accessible to all visitors, including via wheelchair access from within the parking areas and the pedestrian walkway along the canal.
The newly developed park preserves the remnants of the old Amsterdam Battery, with the remaining fragment of the battery retained along with the addition of an interpretation area for the public to illustrate its original scale and form.
The park contains pedestrian walkways along the canal, a piazza with paved walkways, benches, a grassed area and indigenous gardens to relax in – a landscaped public amenity for citizens of the city to enjoy.
Other elements include a children’s play area, grassed and landscaped areas for recreational activities and a pavilion for hosting events and eateries and coffee shops.
The full investment comprises a R700 million initial Waterway House development and R300m for developing the Amsterdam Battery Park and garage and preserving the remnants of the old Amsterdam Battery.
A further R25m is being invested in the Canal Plaza and removing the large traffic circle on Dock Road to improve the flow of traffic, to create a safe pedestrian crossing and to highlight the Synchrolift.
The Queen’s Hotel, Amway Building, old Dock Road and landscaping of open spaces and pedestrian walkways are expected to cost R70m and R10m is to be spent on additional pedestrian links and improving connections to Amsterdam Battery Park.