The multi-faceted creative hub of Woodstock is set to become even more desirable with the announcement of a joint residential and retail project by Cape Town property developers Signatura, and Indigo Properties, the owners of the Old Biscuit Mill and Woodstock Exchange.
The WEX One project designed by Vivid Architects will comprise 217 apartments on six floors, two full floors (and two half levels) of parking, and over 1500m² of retail space on the ground floor.
Situated directly opposite and closely linked to the creative business community of the Woodstock Exchange, the site is bounded by Albert Road and Davison, Grey and Alexander Streets. There is immediate transport access to the Woodstock railway station, MyCiti bus route and cycle lanes, with traffic flowing to the city centre via Albert Road.
“We have gradually been buying former industrial buildings in this location, and acquired the final portion for this development about nine months ago,” said Jody Aufrichtig, co-founder of Indigo Properties, a growing portfolio that includes the River Club in Observatory and the Daddy Hotels.
“While we have extensive local knowledge of the Woodstock neighbourhood, there is no-one who understands residential development better and has more experience in quality residential developments than John Rabie (founder of Signatura). So we should make a formidable team, as this is a very high growth area that is much in demand.”
Woodstock is one of Cape Town’s oldest suburbs and this development will embrace its vibrant mix of tradition, industry and creativity, said Signatura MD David Cohen.
“We will, in addition, incorporate the highest standards of architecture, interior design and landscaping that buyers expect from Signatura. This is not the first development in Woodstock, but it will offer lifestyle and user-friendly features that will make living at WEX One very appealing – and not just because it is so conveniently located about three kilometres from the city centre.
“Our partnership with the owners of the Woodstock Exchange and Biscuit Mill is long-term and we intend to bring more people – some of whom would never have considered the suburb before – to this great area.”
The residential units, mainly north-facing, will be on floors four to nine, with extensive views of the mountain, city and harbour. They will range from stylish 42m² studios for R1.4 million (excluding optional parking), to one-bedroom units for 53 m², and two-bedroom units spanning 70m²-92m². Buyers can enjoy significant tax savings by taking advantage of Urban Development Zone benefits.
Each unit is allocated one parking bay, but buyers may choose to forego this option to reduce unit purchase costs. Given the choice of public transport options, and the increasing use of uber and other innovative transport solutions, parking bays are not essential for all.
The WEX One design “represents a contemporary and contextual response to the traditional brick warehouses in the area,” said Vivid Architects associate Charles Louw. “It will adopt the brick, glass and steel of the rail-side industrial warehouses, reformed into a contemporary aesthetic, while still aiming to retain a classic, timeless appeal.”
Residents will enjoy access to super-fast fibre internet, 24-hour security (apartments will be accessed from a secure lobby in the heart of an internal street) and relaxing internal garden spaces, as well as an on-site pool, gym and laundry.
High quality German kitchens will include Smeg appliances. Heat pumps will provide cost-friendly hot water, with smart metering enabling owners and tenants to monitor usage. Timber will be salvaged from the site for reuse as feature cladding, and the addition of solar panels for electricity at a later date is being explored.
A contemporary street-facing apartment showroom opens in mid-October on the ground floor of the Woodstock Exchange to highlight the apartments’ potential.
Nikki Wright, senior interior designer at Francois du Plessis Interiors, said the look and feel of the WEX One residential units and public areas will be “eclectic, fresh and funky” – indicative of the area and appealing to a younger clientele.
“We will allude to the Woodstock neighbourhood by using furniture and fittings from the designers, artists and craftspeople of Woodstock Exchange, Woodstock Foundry and The Old Biscuit Mill.”
The showroom will be fitted out with locally-sourced soft furnishings, lighting and furniture, ranging from a wall-mounted bicycle rack to pendant lights. A lounge with TV unit, bench, armchair, couch, rug (all local), compact kitchen and dining area for four people will showcase the appeal of the units.
The commercial sector of the new development will be treated as an extension of the Woodstock Exchange, renowned as one of the most interesting work and lifestyle spaces in Cape Town.
Pedestrian connectivity will be encouraged from the station along Davison Road to Albert Road, said Louw. The ground floor shops will be fronted with five metre steel and glass shopfronts and there will be public access into a highly visible, yet well-protected internal retail street running parallel to Albert Road. New landscaping and paving will tie this new building to the Woodstock Exchange.
Aufrichtig said negotiations are underway with a well-known supermarket group for a convenient, well-stocked grocery outlet for residents, while a coffee shop and the extremely fast internet will attract the many creative industry entrepreneurs in the area. Other retail outlets could include lifestyle offerings such as a gin distillery or whisky tasting room.
“WEX One, located on a pivotal site, will complement the successful urban regeneration in the area and elevate it to a new level,” concluded Cohen.
Construction starts in May 2017 and should finish in the final quarter of 2018.