Set in the Culemborg district on the edge of Cape Town’s City Bowl, KPMG Place is a R400 million development which offers 18 000m2 of A+ grade commercial space for businesses, retailers and residents. Conveniently linked to two national highways, and permission has been sought to accomodate a heli pad, the 25-storey mixed-use development is easily accessible, and forms a welcoming gateway to the city of Cape Town.
The vision of well-known developer Rob Alexander of Ziningi Development – which falls under the administration of Ducatus Property Group – the sleek new KPMG Place development comprises highly sought-after commercial space, a showroom retail component and luxury residential units.
The development’s 10 floors of office space are suitable for an array of tenants, as the floor plates are 1 200m2 to 1 500m2 . KPMG is the anchor tenant, occupying four of these floors. The remaining commercial space has received an overwhelming response from leading technology and financial institutes, positioning KPMG Place as the new tech and financial hub of the CBD. Above the beautifully appointed office blocks are three levels of residential space comprising a total of 27 luxury apartments between 85m2 and 244m2 in size. Ten parking levels above ground, and another three below, provide ample room for residents and office workers alike.
Residents of the luxury apartments have the benefit of a separate entrance at street level, 24/7 security that includes number plate recognition and biometric access control, along with a dedicated residents’ lift and executive level concierge services.
Four penthouse apartment floors are set back to differentiate the crown of the building. The blue double-glazed curtain wall façade of the 85m-high structure consists of a dynamic composition of asymmetric aluminum-framed corner towers. Elevated on a white aluminum-clad plinth, the entire building appears to float above the ground on top of the glass ‘skybox’ showrooms that overlook the street.
But even with its aesthetically pleasing contemporary architecture, KPMG Place still manages to complement the natural beauty of the Foreshore and the surrounding cityscape. KPMG Place is specially designed to take advantage of its magnificent setting, with private balconies affording stunning views over the Atlantic Ocean in the northeast and Table Mountain in the south. James Green from MWLF Architects is the leading architect for the building and commercial space. Nick Proome from EPA Architects, who are renowned for the design of the opulent and innovative Oceans Umhlanga in KwaZulu-Natal, has been commissioned to create the residential units.
With its wide boulevards, tree-lined centre islands and stunning backdrop, the first-rate development provides a pleasant commercial, working and retail environment just far enough away from the congestion of the CBD. Its close proximity to major roads and ideal location within walking distance from public transport stations and the Cape Town International Convention Centre are an added convenience.
Leading up to the start of the development process, KPMG accounting firm had been looking for a site to build new offices. The original plans for this particular part of the Roggebaai office precinct was a solely residential development; however, once the developers saw the opportunity to build a mixed-use space, the deal started to materialise; KPMG became the catalyst for the exciting new Foreshore development and were given naming rights to the building, with the transfer deed for the land taking place in early 2007.
“Securing rights to rezone the land was a long and tedious process but the municipality always showed cooperation – and were fair and reasonable at all times,” says owner and developer Rob Alexander of Pietermaritzburg-based Ducatus Property Group.
The development is due for completion early 2018 and everything remains on track: “So far all of our parking levels have been completed and we have now started putting down the office floor slabs,” says James Green. “Some of the development challenges we have faced are associated with working on reclaimed land and its groundwater. On a few occasions, high-speed winds have also been an obstacle that teams involved on the project have had to overcome,” adds James.
But probably the biggest challenge of this project has been that it involved the deepest ever Foreshore excavation in Cape Town’s history, to accommodate the three levels of underground parking, which go down to 11m below sea level.
A number of unique architectural considerations were made in the development of this prominent structure on Cape Town’s Foreshore: “One special design feature of KPMG Place is the solar glass double-glazed curtain wall façade. The coloured lighting on the building’s façade, which can be sequenced for attractive displays, is also going to be really spectacular,” says James.
Negotiations are currently under way for the installation of electronic signage on the façade, which would add further to the building’s visual appeal. As far as technological innovations and security measures are concerned, the building will make use of vehicle registration recognition for controlled access as well as biometrics – specifically, retina recognition.
Careful consideration has been given to the natural environment throughout the project, and other ecologically sustainable measures are still to be put in place. Aside from the heat-resistant glazing, the building will make use of wall kettles instead of geysers, and will include water-saving sanitary and brassware. This and a whole host of other design and product initiatives will result in KPMG Place having one of the lowest per square metre electricity and water usages in Cape Town.
The KPMG Place office tower’s position on the edge of the CBD adjacent to the harbour – and linked to major roads – looks set to unlock the potential value of this currently underdeveloped area, and revolutionise the way we work and live, creating a precedent for the greater Foreshore development, and becoming part of the iconic postcard view of Table Bay.