Redevelopment of Cape Town’s last city block kicks off with a splash of colour

Landmark street art mural unveiled in Cape Town Central Business District (CBD).


Cape Town, South Africa – The redevelopment of Cape Town’s last remaining city block has kicked off with the unveiling of a towering street art mural. Measuring a massive 6 metres by ten storeys high, a surrealistic lighthouse fronts the vertical space on the corner of Strand and Loop Street, symbolically linking the city to the sea and its maritime heritage.

Renowned 53-year old Ukrainian street artist Aleksandr Nikitiuk, whose murals often mix realism and surrealism, took six days to complete the project with the help of local Cape Town-based street artists.

Boxwood Property Fund owns the entire city block which fronts Bree, Loop, Castle and Strand Streets − comprising three separate buildings − which it acquired late last year for a total of R220 million. This is the last remaining city block that can be redeveloped in the city and Boxwood plans to invest a further R800 million to rejuvenate the existing buildings to create premium grade retail and offices with associated parking.

The fabric of the buildings will be retained while an emphasis will be placed on creating an interesting streetscape and incorporating exciting architecture.

Boxwood Property Fund CEO, Rob Kane explains, “We have a passion for the City and its health, and our aim is to promote a lively streetscape and create an environment that is exciting to our tenants. If one looks at cities like Barcelona, Paris, Amsterdam and Berlin, the street art and murals are such an integral part of what makes those cities so vibrant.”

“We wanted to use this prominent site as the ‘canvas’ for an exciting street art project, and we teamed up with local NGO, Baz-Art to help us find a suitable artist for a project of this scale. We were also fortunate enough to have had the support of local construction company, R+N Master Builders who provided the scaffolding work at cost,” added Kane.  

“We are very grateful to the City for giving us approval for the artwork. Everyone involved has seen the value-add of the mural. In addition to creating a more interesting streetscape, the project has employed local artists, contractors, scaffold crews and the like. It has also exposed Cape Town to the creativity of the Ukraine and our collaboration with them has been great. It is difficult to see a downside.”

Nikitiuk was originally selected to participate in the International Public Art Festival held in Cape Town in February this year but was unable to attend at the time. Baz-Art, assisted by the Ukranian Embassy, eventually succeeded in bringing the artist to Cape Town in June to begin work on the super-sized lighthouse mural.

Redevelopment of Cape Town’s last city block kicks off with a splash of colour

Over the past 18 months, Boxwood has invested around R1 billion in several older office buildings in Cape Town’s CBD and plans to invest a further R800 million to rejuvenating these and other properties. The company is currently awaiting planning approval to commence the R130 million redevelopment of The Box on Waterkant Street, one of the CBD’s tallest buildings (formerly known as Atterbury House or the old Shell House), which will see it being materially upgraded into a 4-star Green Building, with GLA of 25,600m2 (3,543m2 of retail space; 25,000m2 of office space and 570 parking bays).

Sources: Boxwood 
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