Maitland development aims to become outsourcing hub

One-time industrial area is becoming a mixed-use urban hotspot with expectations of an additional 80 000 call centre jobs opening up in the Western Cape in the next two years.
The first completed building in the development, The Prime apartment building, is now fully occupied. Image: Supplied

The first leg of the major urban renewal project currently underway in the Western Cape’s Maitland industrial area – a residential development called The Prime – is now fully occupied, with construction of a second residential development called Maitland Mews set to begin.

The R1.2 billion Maitland Metro Precinct regeneration project being developed by BlueBuck Projects aims to build seven buildings, which will see more than 50 000m2  of once industrial land converted into a mixed-use development catering to residential, commercial and retail needs.

The development has been earmarked to provide at least 1 200 housing opportunities specifically for low to middle income households.

“We have branded the node Maitland Metro. The name underlines our intent to create a vibrant new residential and business district within the suburb, and help Maitland play a crucial linking role between the city centre and the eastern suburbs,” BlueBuck development manager Vuyo Mthi says in a statement.

“Maitland Metro has been designed to solidify the connection to Salt River and Woodstock via the Salt River bridge and forms the platform for future connection with Observatory via the City’s planned extension of Berkeley Road across the Black River.”

Addressing spatial planning challenges

One of the driving motivations behind the project is to address historical wrongs, such as apartheid spatial planning that saw many of the drivers of the city’s economy segregated to the outskirts of the city.

“Maitland is centrally located in Cape Town, has exceptional public transport options, and is already a mixed-use suburb consisting of residential, industrial, commercial, educational and community properties and amenities. These factors all make Maitland Metro an excellent location for inclusionary housing,” Mthi says.

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“With the provision of adequate, safe and affordable housing close to working opportunities, we are striving to make Maitland Metro a sustainable precinct that will provide its residents with shorter commutes and improved access to water and electricity, and safe public spaces and amenities.”

Job creation

Maitland is the call centre hub of the Western Cape – it is home to call centre giant Capita, which employees over 2 000 people – and the development could support the creation of similar jobs.

“The area is perfect for HR-intensive operations such as call centres,” says BlueBuck Projects MD Shaun Reznik.

“We’ve already seen how well this can work in the area, as the 2 000-employee Capita call centre proves, and we will provide new space for call centre operators who will have the added benefit of dignified housing opportunities for their employees in the building next door.”

Giles Balmer, owner of letting agent Cardinal Property Group, adds: “Locally the Western Cape makes up approximately 57% of international call centre activity in South Africa.

“Currently, some 67 555 agents are employed here, and this figure is anticipated to increase by a further 80 000 agents over the next 24 months,” says Balmer.

“We are working alongside CapeBPO to identify contact centre investors, who will be able to secure existing or new build premises, ranging from 5 00m2 to over 10 000m2, and within their targeted budgets.”

CapeBPO is the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape’s strategic business partner responsible for the growth and development of the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry in the province.

Listen to Suren Naidoo’s interview with Galetti associate director Wes Cowan in this episode of The Property Pod (or read the highlights here):

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