The Cape Town city centre is a gem of history, many beautiful old buildings being restored by developers and given a new lease on life. A new 3000 m² development by Urban Lime on the corner of Church Square and Parliament Street, previously a warehouse, will become a grand 4-storey urban development Speakers-Corner, with 15 offices, a restaurant, a bar, and specialist retail outlets, it was announced at a function in the building last night.
One had to announce one’s arrival downstairs in a corner space of the Victorian building, which will become part of the restaurant, and it had a ‘Retro Woman’ mural painted by Johannesburg-based mural artist Sonny, giving one a taste of what is to come. The building has exposed brick, original iron-work, tin-clad fire doors, 5 meter high ceilings, polished terazzo floors, and interesting original interiors and exteriors.
The name of the building comes from its close proximity to Parliament, and the history of Church Square, which both have led to the freedom of speech we now enjoy in our special city, explained Katie Friedman, Marketing Director of Urban Lime. The commercial property company specialises in urban regeneration, and has offices in Cape Town, Durban, and London. In Cape Town its work on the semi-detached buildings on Bree Street, near its Orphange Cocktail Emporium, is particularly visible.
A large space on the second floor was transformed into the event space, with paintings on the walls, a bar set up and operated by Orphanage Cocktail Emporium staff, and canapés (goats cheese, red onion, and marmalade; 3 ban tacos with chimichurri; and chicken roulade), prepared by Chef Johann Breedt of Orphanage. Images of artists impressions of what the building will be transformed into were projected onto the wall. The designers are INHOUSE agency, who designed the interior of Orphanage, Burrata, Bocca, and more. Impressive is the design of the reception area, with a sweeping staircase in wood, and even a slide if walking down the steps does not get one down quickly enough!
The four upstairs floors will be transformed into office space, with meeting and function rooms too, and a rooftop bar terrace will be created. A hotel-style concierge service will be offered to tenants. Downstairs will be one long space across the whole breadth of the building along Parliament Street, an all-day restaurant, an old-school cocktail bar, and specialist retail outlets flowing from one to the other. The restaurant will flow onto the Church Square piazza for alfresco dining, with outdoor seating, a space that is rarely used. The piazza will showcase art, sculptures, and performance. Secure parking will be available 24 hours per day.
The new elegant Speakers-Corner development will become an interesting mix of Cape Town history with the latest amenities and modern design, sure to be spoken about once completed by the end of the year!
Speakers-Corner, corner Church and Parliament Street, Cape Town, Urban Lime Tel (021) 422-0971, www.speakers-Corner.co.za, Twitter: @SpeakersCT Rental agents Swindon Property Tel 021 422-0778.