By Anél Powell

Three prime central Cape Town buildings have been sold for R300-million in the largest property investment deal in recent years.

The buildings, sold to a consortium in a single transaction, are 1 Thibault Square, Constitution House on Adderley Street, and 101 St George's Mall. They make up a combined 50 000m².

The sale proved that central Cape Town was "attracting serious investment", said Theodore Yach, the property consultant who facilitated the deal and was in a partner in the acquisition.

Yach, who also is the newly appointed chairperson of the Cape Town Central City Improvement District, said the sale was one of several transactions in the pipeline before 2010.

He said a property investment transaction, as opposed to a development investment, meant the buildings bought required little refurbishment.

It was also referred to as a "pure investment" as it meant the buyer was able to keep the established tenants and retailers.

Yach said 1 Thibault Square was the city's largest Grade A commercial property. It had been designed by Revel Fox and, with 30 000m² available for rent, has "untapped potential for retail and other ground-floor-related activities".

Its acquisition was a "pure investment" as there was no need to redevelop the building.

The other two properties are neighbours with Mandela Rhodes Place, a R2-billion mixed retail and residential development that looks set to transform historic St George's Mall into a lifestyle hub.

Constitution House and 101 St George's Mall would be re-developed to tap into this "vibrant environment", Yach said. The offices in these buildings would be upgraded and the retail space converted into "modern" commercial spaces.

The shops would also benefit from their proximity to the five-star Taj Hotel being constructed in the historic Reserve Bank and BoE buildings.

Avin Liberman, joint chief executive officer of Zenprop, also part of the consortium in the purchase, said: "All three properties represent great long-term sustainable value."

Yach said 2010 was having a considerable impact on property investment in the city.