Paarden Eiland renaissance

Paarden Eiland renaissance

Aerial view of Paarden Eiland, which is experiencing a renaissance.

Paarden Eiland is seeing a resurgence for all Cape Town industry as it offers large, affordable and flexible spaces that allow for creativity and expression.

In 2015, the City of Cape Town launched a MyCiTi route that travels along a reclaimed railway link through the Paarden Eiland industrial area featuring station artwork depicting things that are synonymous with the area. The artwork at Section station is by renowned artist David Hlongwane, based on the concept of people coming and going. At Neptune station movement, distance and the experience of travelling are evoked by the work of Sanjin Muftic, and at Vrystaat station a series of painted figures relate to people in transit by artist Arlene Amaler-Raviv.

In 2016 the Cape Town city council approved an environmental and spatial planning policy for Milnerton south and Paarden Eiland, aligned with the Cape Town Spatial Development Framework. Its intention was to increase public investment and economic development in the area, change land use from industrial to mixed-use and encourage more efficient movement between the east and west – essentially kicking off the upliftment and rejuvenation of one of the city’s oldest and most ignored areas. Until that point the Paarden Eiland corridor had been suffering from urban blight, deterioration and stagnation.

Paarden Eiland has a long history in the development of the entire Western Cape area. Its location is central to the airport, CBD and other residential areas. It offers one of the most affordable per square metre rentals in the Cape Town vicinity and it is well connected to various public transport links and major highways. With the area’s historical credibility and these relatively new changes to policy, over the past few years many leading businesses and brands are now calling the area home.

Infinity Studios is one business contributing to the area’s upliftment. A multi-functional studio set in the heart of Paarden Eiland, the space is a blank canvas for creatives offering a chic photo lounge, an infinity curve wall, a studio kitchen and an intimate event venue with views of Table Mountain, Lion’s Head and the CBD.

Owner of Infinity Studios, James Pople, says: “I’ve always been intrigued by Paarden Eiland and over the past few years I’ve seen a lot of change here. I had to be part of that. Contributing towards the upliftment of such a significant part of Cape Town’s history and economy is really important to me.”

In addition to refurbished showrooms, factory shops and new creative spaces, Paarden Eiland property is on the rise. Property company Inospace entered the area in recent years adding it to the portfolio of its urban regeneration programme precincts, which aims to unlock potential in older industrial zones by introducing modern, people-centric spaces and services without the gentrification of heritage buildings or neighbourhoods, or the displacing of long-term residents.

Inospace says its objective is to “help steer the city towards a more inclusive, integrated and environmentally friendly future”.

Aside from industrial and commercial building renovations new mixed-use rezoning has encouraged the opening of a Vide é Cafe, boardrooms for hire and co-working spaces among other projects.

For example, the fresh organic food delivery company, Wild Organics, has its headquarters in Paarden Eiland.

In 2017, CityROCK moved to Paarden Eiland citing the “size and height of the buildings with lots of safe parking” the reason for the move. Bloc 11 Climbing and Fitness and Jump Around trampoline park are more examples of fun indoor family activities based in Paarden Eiland.

In 2018, mobile bar service provider, The Perfect Serve, moved from Killarney to Paarden Eiland for its more central location to venues and more affordable R/m² rental rates.

Pople says: “Paarden Eiland is turning into a beautiful space for work and play. The way businesses are structured nowadays with people working flexi time, using shared office space and satellite workstations you don’t have to be situated in main hubs anymore. Paarden Eiland is definitely an area to consider when thinking about a move, no matter what business you’re in.”