Cape Town’s inner city is booming with more than R2.5 billion of construction work nearing completion or underway in the CBD.

Included in these 19 developments is the R1.6bn investment by Old Mutual in the Portside development. Other projects include the R498 million development of The Towers on Hertzog Boulevard and the R92m refurbishment of the Cape Sun Hotel by Tsogo Sun.

And this excludes the as yet unconfirmed investment in the new Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital on the Foreshore, expected to be completed next year.

Last year, construction work woth R782m was completed.

According to the latest edition of the Cape Town Central City Improvement District’s (CCID) investment guide, ‘The State of Cape Town Central City: 2013 – A year in review’, construction work worth a further R1.5bn is already in the pipeline.

According to the CCID review, the current value of property in the central city is R24bn, and almost a quarter of the greater Cape Town’s A-grade office stock can be found in this area. Just six years ago, the value of city property was just over R6bn.

CCID chairman Rob Kane admitted he had expected a ‘tail-off ‘ of interest in the CBD.

The property boom of the early 2000s tapered off towards the end of 2009 and 2010 when there was a spike in stock levels.

By last year, estate agents reported a renewed interest in the market and office rentals, residential units and tourism which all showed signs of growth.

There are more than 1 200 retailers in the city. While retail space in St George’s Mall was almost always snapped up, there was strong interest from the design-related market in retail space in Bree Street.

The CCID’s review found that 94 percent of inner city retail space was occupied and almost 89 percent of A-grade office space was rented.

‘The function of a business district is to link businesses more efficiently and the city centre does that.’

Kane said business confidence in the CBD had increased with 86 percent of businesses polled saying they were satisfied with being based in the central city.

The biggest sector presence in the CBD is that of legal services, with 592 companies, followed by 202 companies in the medical services sector.

More than 5 000 people live in the CBD, up from the 750 people who opted for inner city living in 2005, and there has been a 300 percent increase in the number of residents since 2011.

The inner city has about 3 500 sectional title units, with an increasing number of these being occupied by the owners rather than tenants. According to the report, there are more than 20 apartment complexes in the inner city, with prices starting at R350 000 for a unit. You could also pay as much as R30m for a penthouse flat spread across two floors.

The census of 2011 also showed that almost half of residents living in the city centre are black, followed by whites at 28 percent.

Most inner city residents fall into the 25 to 34 age group, although Kane said city living was no longer ‘just for young people’. The opening of offices for overseas companies meant that these employees were also opting to live in the CBD.

According to the census, the origin of inner city residents was almost evenly split between Cape Town locals and people coming from other parts of the country. About 17 percent of people living in the city were from overseas.

This article was first published in the 04 April 2014 edition of the Cape Argus