Bellville Velodrome site transformed into mixed-use development

Bellville Velodrome site transformed into mixed-use development

Artist’s impression of The Galleria, the new mixed-use development taking shape on the Velodrome site in Bellville, Cape Town.

Devmet Property Developments (Pty) Ltd, a consortium of Devmark Property Group and equity investors, is nearing the realisation of The Galleria, a 11.4ha mixed-use property development in Tyger Valley, Cape Town.

The Galleria is being developed on the site of the Bellville Velodrome, close to the Bellville CBD and adjacent to the N1, Carl Cronje Drive (M121) and Willie van Schoor and Durban Roads (R302).

The Velodrome served as Cape Town’s principal concert venue for a decade, until the Grand Arena at Grand West Casino assumed that role. This created the opportunity to re-interpret and re-engineer the Velodrome as a world-class events venue. Devmet saw the potential of the site and decided to add a hotel, additional retail and commercial space, lifestyle and leisure attractions as well as residential units.

Devmark chief executive, Hein Ehlers, says The Galleria presents an opportunity for investors and tenants to be part of a modern mixed-use growth node, especially given the City of Cape Town’s stated objectives to densify, and infrastructure spend towards Bellville in the short and medium terms.

“The Galleria’s strategic location means that the site benefits from multiple connections, including roads and services, transit routes, fibre networks and as a hub where people from all spheres of life connect for business, social and retail activities. It also has easy access to the N1 facilitating commuting to the CBD, there are excellent schools in the immediate vicinity and comprehensive amenities on offer in close proximity. Part of the location’s allure is the comprehensive live, work, play opportunities on offer with the backdrop of the winelands just to the north.”

The Galleria will include retail, commercial, residential, hotel, sport, entertainment and medical offerings. Ehlers says the development has already attracted national and regional head offices, hotels, and an international events company.

“The synergies between the hotel and multi-purpose arena offering a meeting, convention, entertainment and sporting facility are enormous, and a ripple investment leveraging a previously underutilised City of Cape Town asset,” says Ehlers.

“Our team studied 52 international convention facilities in order to understand the requirements of a modern multi-purpose events facility. The Velodrome will be redeveloped into a world class, multi-purpose venue able to host international sporting events, cater for large expos and conventions and offer businesses the opportunity to hire hospitality facilities.”

In addition, it is envisaged that about 500 sectional title apartments will be developed on the site, which in turn will generate the need for bespoke lifestyle-based retail and food offerings. The developer intends to curate these to meet the ever-increasing requirements of a sophisticated public.

“The approach to the development of The Galleria is holistic and integrated, incorporating green initiatives and smart city imperatives. Our estimation is that the capex, at present value, will be approximately R7 billion. The catalytic effect of The Galleria within Bellville and indeed Cape Town will be enormous,” Ehlers says.

The architects’ vision for The Galleria Project grew from the precedent of the timeless Italian hilltop town, with layers of inhabitation developed over time.

The many different building types allow for a variety of experiences and functions such as retail, commerce, residential and entertainment, existing side by side within an overall unified whole. The individual buildings will have strong features, differing in detail, but undeniably part of the same family.

The focal linear Galleria element will be a street which acts as a spine around which all the parts of the development are collected and grouped. The vision proposed is a primarily safe pedestrian environment, in which streets, plazas, courtyards, garden courts and terraces have been articulated as positive spaces, accommodating a wide variety of experiences and functions.

Limited vehicular access will be available and the external spaces will be able to host a variety of events. All parking for The Galleria will be accommodated in a multi storey structure concealed within the development.

“The vision is underpinned by environmental strategies,” says Ehlers. “From inception the intention with The Galleria was to include all of the best materials and technology required for it to achieve a Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) rating.

“Landscaping and a green environment are integral to the architecture. Vertical and horizontal planes will be planted, and planting will be integral with the planning and design of the outdoor spaces and courts, which will be wind sheltered and contain features such as arbours, structured planting, fountains, pergolas, lawns, street furniture and sculptures.”

The Galleria project is also seen as a “City within a City”. It is envisaged as a ‘hub’ – a central transport node for vehicles and pedestrians and integrates seamlessly with the surrounding built fabric and its network of routes and connections.

The first phase of the scheme will consist of a 33 700m² retail mall, five levels of parking and 2 825 undercover parking bays, a 200 room four-star business hotel, complete reconstruction of the Velodrome to a world class multipurpose events arena, and about 28 400m² of A-grade corporate office space.

“The Galleria project maximizes the site conditions. Advantage has been taken of the magnificent views from the development, and the views towards the development have been carefully considered,” says Ehlers.