V&A Waterfront remains the economic heart of Cape Town


The waterfront’s chief executive officer, David Green told CNBC Africa that its gross domestic product (GDP) growth is at ten per cent, three per cent above the national average.

It also contributed around 227 billion rand towards the GDP of South Africa’s Western Cape province between 2002 and 2014.

“We’re in a very strong period in terms of development right across the board of our hotels, health clubs and residential areas. We’re forecasting that we’ll continue this growth for another 10 years, doubling the contribution towards GDP. It’s a very positive, historic story,” said Green.


He added that this growth is mainly attributed to the recent change of ownership.

“The more significant change recently has been the change of ownership.  About three years ago, the ownership changed back into South African hands,” Green said.

“It’s now half-owned by the Public Investment Corporation and half by Growthpoint Properties. This has led to the advent of significant capital investment and a different growth outlook in terms of the prospects.”

The retail segment of the waterfront surprisingly contributes less than 50 per cent towards revenue.

“The waterfront is known as a retail centre but it’s actually a lot more than that. The residential area plays a very strong part of the growth [story],” Green added.

He further stated that the residential rates have reached 100,000 rand per square meter, making it the most expensive in Africa, but that management is focusing on growth at the lower end of the market.  

“What we’re looking to do is bring on accessible rental accommodation for young couples, around 6,000 rand per month. There’s a lot of expensive property and I think young professionals are looking for something more accessible.”

The waterfront also created over 19,269 direct jobs in 2014, a 20 per cent increase from 2012.

(READ MORE: Foreshore developments to change Cape Town’s face)

“The contribution that the waterfront makes to the national economy is equivalent to 56,000 jobs. We see this development continuing at the same level and doubling in ten years. Replicating that kind of growth is a real possibility,” Green indicated.

“We’ve introduced the Watershed of craft and design. There’re currently around 150 traders in the Watershed, each employing between five and nine people. The future for job creation is going to come from small business development rather than the larger corporations.”