R700-million development on track for 2010

6th March 2009 By: Carla Thomaz

Construction of the R700-million mixed-use luxury development, Crystal Towers, with its three tower cranes and a workforce of over 600, is on track for completion in time for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Crystal Towers, which is being financed by financial institution Nedbank, is the largest project undertaken by property development company Rabie Property Group, at Century City, since the Canal Walk shopping centre, which was completed in 2000. The project’s workforce is expected to peak at well over 900 as construction progresses.

Being built at a cost of more than R700-million, the mixed-use development, which started in late January last year, will include a 180-room, five-star hotel, associated boutique restaurants and retailing, 90 luxury apartments and 7 000 m2 of office space developed on the canal front site at Century City.

The development will be completed in phases and will consist of two ten-storey tower blocks and a five-storey standalone officeblock, set over a two-level podium that will include parking and canal-front hotel banqueting facilities flowing out over the water. WSP was awarded the consulting engineering contract and its director, Greg Nichollas, notes: “Crystal Towers is basically three projects rolled into one, with a tight design and construction programme that lends this project its own complexity.”

The hotel will form part of Protea Hotel’s African Pride collection of deluxe five-star hotels and will be housed in one of the towers.

An internal road housing ancilliary boutique retailing and restaurants will run through the spine of the development, linking with the apartments, offices and the hotel.

The second tower will house 2 000 m2 of office space over two levels and seven storeys of apartments. The apartments will range from studio to two-bedroom penthouses and will be sold on a sectional-title basis. Construction completion of the apartments is expected by the end of April next year.

An additional 5 000 m2 of offices will be situated in the standalone building. The handover of the office block is expected to take place in August with the completion of external works in November. “We are currently negotiating with purchasers for the office building and hotel,” says Rabie Property group director Greg Dean.

The Rabie Property group is also exploring a number of green building technologies, such as a common boiler to serve the apartments, the hotel and retail components rather than individual geysers, which would ensure that just enough hot water is heated at any one time. An integrated air conditioning and heating system will effect further savings by heating the boiler. Motion sensor light switches to all public bathrooms as well as heat reducing glazing will also be installed.

Vivid Architects partner Paolo Viotti says: “Crystal Towers has been designed with extensive glazing to optimise the panoramic views while animating the facades at night with a balance of warm artificial and coloured light-emitting-diode lighting.”