A look at the V&A Waterfront’s incredible new R1.1 billion Canal District

Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront has announced that it is set to launch its new R300 million Battery Park development as part of the bigger R1.1 billion Canal District.

Expected to be completed in October 2018, the new urban park will integrate into Cape Town’s CBD and the V&A Waterfront through a series of pedestrian routes – including one alongside the canal.

Visitors to the park will also be able to engage in a range of outdoor recreation, entertainment and retail activities in various levels of public spaces.

The 12,000 m2 (approx. 1.2 hectare) park forms part of the V&A Waterfront’s Canal District and can be accessed from either Dock Road, Fort Road, Ebenezer Road or Alfred Street.

A four-story public parking facility is constructed beneath the park with entrances via Alfred Street or Dock Road. When it is complete the parking facility will offer 1,206 bays for public, residential and tenant use.

The V&A Waterfront will be responsible for all security, cleaning and maintenance of the park.

Each area of the park contains public walking paths and benches. Landscaping consists of waterwise fynbos and other indigenous plants and trees. A combination of rainwater harvesting and grey water is used to maintain the plants.

“A key objective of the V&A Waterfront has always been to re-establish the connection between the city and the sea, which we have achieved with the pedestrian path that runs alongside the Canal,” said David Green, V&A Waterfront CEO.

“Equally important, the ruins of the historic Amsterdam Battery have been retained in the Park as a new heritage site.

“A key focus of the development was also to offer views of the Waterfront and surrounding CBD, as well as retain and enhance the historically important line of sight between the Battery and the Noon Day gun site on Signal Hill.

“Our overarching vision though, was to provide a functional, convenient, comfortable, safe and unrestricted space with recreational activities for all age groups,” he said.

Key elements

  • Amsterdam Battery – The site is of archaeological importance as it still contains the rear ramparts of the historical Amsterdam Battery, one of the oldest structures in Cape Town. Archaeological digs of the area were undertaken prior to construction of the park, and they uncovered the two circular walls which have been retained.
  • Canal – Battery Park will host a range of water sport activities from standup paddling to kayaking and swimming. The canal also provides a link between the V&A Waterfront and the Cape Town International Convention Centre through water taxis that ferry passengers between both points.
  • Piazza – The Piazza forms one of the levels of the park. It comprises of retail outlets, pedestrian paths, benches, gardens. Stairs leading down from the Piazza give visitors access to the canal, from where they can watch water activities or simply meander along the water’s edge.
  • Park – The elevated park area offers views across the V&A Waterfront and the surrounding city streets. The park is fully accessible to disabled visitors.
  • Youth activities and children’s playground – This family friendly area will consist of a jungle gym, swings, rocking horses and a scooter path. It will also comprise of outdoor recreational activities for teenagers as well.
  • Retail – The Piazza is home to a niche companies offering specialist services as well as food and beverage retailers.

Canal District 

Battery Park makes up just part of the R1.1 billion Canal District development underway at the V&A Waterfront.

The Canal District will consist of an 84,000 m2 (8.4 hectare) mixed-use development straddling both sides of the Dock Road entrance to the V&A Waterfront.

As an extension of the city and a neighbourhood within the V&A Waterfront, the Canal District offers city, waterfront and mountain views and a quality urban lifestyle in an environment in which people can work and play.

The area consists of commercial and retail space at Waterway House, a new parking facility, the City Lodge Hotel, a film studio and the abovementioned urban park developed around the remnants of the historical Amsterdam Battery.

A residential development is also planned for the area.

A breakdown of spend on the project includes:

  • R700 million for the initial Waterway House development.
  • R300 million for developing the new Battery Park and garage, and preserving the remnants of the old Amsterdam Battery.
  • R25 million is being invested in the Canal Plaza, and removing the large traffic circle on Dock Road to improve the flow of traffic and to create a safe pedestrian crossing and make it safe for people and highlight the Synchrolift.
  • R70 million for the Queens Hotel, Amway Building, old Dock Road and landscaping of open spaces and pedestrian walkways.
  • R10 million on additional pedestrian links in Canal District – improving connectivity of Amsterdam Battery Park.

Waterway house

The 18,000 m2 Waterway House building is the largest in the Canal District and is its commercial hub.

It consists of an office block divided into two distinct wings connected by a walkway in the centre.

The south wing of the Prime Grade office space houses the head office of multinational company British American Tobacco, while the north wing is occupied by Ernst & Young and Stonehage Fleming.

The ground floor of Waterway House is occupied by retail, including showrooms for Ferrari, Porsche, and Baultaup.

Additional retail at Battery Park includes boutique shops and businesses and eateries and coffee shops suitable for a leisurely lunch with friends or a business meeting.

Queen’s Hotel and Theatre School Building

“The old Queens Hotel nearby is currently being refurbished and when complete in the first quarter of 2019 will together with the revamped old Dock Road, accommodate bespoke shops and pavement cafes and eateries,” the V&A Waterfront said.

“The Waterfront Theatre School has occupied a grand historic building on Alfred Street for over two decades and will continue to bring life and activity into the newly configured district.”

Read: A look at Pretoria’s new ‘beach’ – on the edges of the first clear-water lagoon in South Africa

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A look at the V&A Waterfront’s incredible new R1.1 billion Canal District