Wellington travellers, soon there will be a new hot mixed-use destination offering trendy office and retail space, restaurants and other leisure as well as a winery and weekend market and other family attractions.
Landmark The Old Tannery in Wellington is getting an “artisanal” makeover. The “Old Tannery” dates to 1871 and is one of the oldest factories in South Africa.
Phil Craig, a commercial broker with Seeff Wellington, said the heritage property offers the ideal “artisanal appeal” and is a photographer’s dream. It is known to be a popular wedding venue.
The restoration and development project is in keeping with South Africa’s heritage regulations. When it was established as the Western Tanning & Boot Company by John Henry Coaton on his farm Olyvenhout, thousands of skins were tanned and about 100 000 pairs of shoes manufactured monthly.
Power was delivered by a steam engine and turbine and by 1910 it was well established with several buildings and modern machinery. It survived the Great Depression, but in 1939 the shoe factory was destroyed by fire and never re-opened.
The tannery continued to produce leather for shoe uppers among others. The Coaton family sold it in 1940 and it was taken over by SA Mercantile in 1944. By 2000, it produced enough leather to supply half of SA’s needs.
When the new owners purchased it in 2017, it was a state of decay and dilapidation. Development started in January 2019 to ensure full compliance with the authorities.
“With the restoration and development well underway, some buildings already house a variety of creative and light industrial businesses while others are being meticulously refurbished to provide a space where people can eat, drink, shop and work in safety and comfort,” said Craig.
The completed development will include a ground floor level which will house food and beverage establishments such as a restaurant, coffee shop, selected permanent quality food concessions, general bar and a gin bar as well as an entertainment stage for live music and communal seating. The first floor is allocated to niche retail and office space.
Leading off the central Atrium is outdoor space for seating next to the river as well as a wine cellar with a wine shop, wine bar and a tasting room, which will also be available for hire. There will also be ground floor exhibition space for a weekend market and additional undercover seating opening onto the courtyard.
The remainder, spread over the complex, will comprise of a brewery, distillery, entertainment space, a cooking school (with a restaurant and shop), more office space and specialised retail targeted at arts and crafts, niche food such as a deli and bakery and other middle class leisure, more restaurants and a gym. There will be ample parking available.
Travellers should explore Wellington, which is 45-minutes from Cape Town and 40-minutes from the Cape Town International airport. It is also less than 30-minutes from Durbanville and Stellenbosch, and under 20-minutes from Paarl. It is also a popular tourist destination, and is increasingly popular with weekenders and day visitors.