Urban renewal: Woodstock’s metamorphosis

By on December 2, 2013

Not too long ago the suburb of Woodstock in Cape Town’s central business district was known for its crime, rundown buildings and general undesirability. How quickly things have changed.

In the latter part of the 20th century, the lower parts of Woodstock started to become derelict due a lack of investment in the area and the subsequent rise in crime, litter and drugs. However, the area has a reputation for defying the odds – it was never declared ‘whites only’ during apartheid and remained one of very few fully integrated areas throughout South Africa’s history – and it has received a massive facelift over the last decade or so.

Creative minds and young professionals began to flock to the area, encouraged by its vicinity to Cape Town’s business hub and cheap rent. Trendy restaurants, coffee shops and property developers arrived next, keen to be near the emerging middle class in the area. This was naturally followed by an influx of businesses, office parks and other shops, all converting derelict warehouses and abandoned buildings into upmarket and modern space.

Ravi Naidoo, founder of the Design Indaba was quoted by Dezeen, an influential architect and design blog, as saying, “If you have 36 hours in Cape Town and time is at a premium, you have to head down to Woodstock.”

The suburb is now the creative hub of Cape Town and is home to the likes of Ogilvy & Mather Cape Town’s head office, The Woodstock Exchange, The Old Biscuit Mill, The District and Buchanen Square.

To find out more about joining Cape Town’s creative revolution and renting office space in Woodstock email Ralf Fletcher on ralf.fletcher@topco.co.za.

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