Cape Town’s iconic Camps Bay boulevard, known for its charming pavement cafés, bistros, and restaurants, is about to undergo a significant transformation. A 100-room hotel is set to be built, promising to redefine the look and atmosphere of the beachfront. However, the project has faced objections from local residents and ratepayers.
Novis Hotels, a renowned Cape Town-based hospitality company, aims to construct a luxurious 5-storey beachfront hotel. They have announced their intention to commence construction in May of this year, with a projected opening date set for September 2024.
Novis Hotels has encountered opposition from the Camps Bay and Clifton Ratepayers’ Association (CBCRA) throughout every phase of the project. Consequently, the planning process spanned five years. Ultimately, the mayor had to make the final decision to approve the project.
Novis Hotels believes that the addition of a new 5-star hotel will bring numerous benefits to Camps Bay and Cape Town as a whole. They assert that the hotel will enhance the area and potentially increase property prices. Moreover, they anticipate the creation of permanent employment opportunities and anticipate a boost in tourism due to the hotel’s international brand.
Closure of Mynt Café
Recently, the proposed hotel made headlines when the owner of Mynt Café announced its impending closure to facilitate the demolition of the building. Theo Pearson, the café owner, acknowledged that he had been aware of this development for the past five years, as the property’s owner had hinted at the possibility. Pearson expressed his concern about the situation since his employees would be left jobless. However, he emphasized his respect for the circumstances as a business owner.
Regarding the potential for reopening his business within the new hotel, Pearson stated that it would depend on the hotel’s management and their decision on whether to outsource food and beverage services. Some hotels opt for outsourcing, while others prefer an in-house approach.
Opposition from Camps Bay Residents
In March 2020, the City’s Municipal Planning Tribunal (MPT) approved the development application. However, Camps Bay residents strongly objected to the proposal, citing significant impacts on surrounding properties.
Chairperson Chris Willemse of the CBCRA stated that they appealed the MPT’s decision to the mayor. The appeal was partially upheld, specifically in relation to parking requirements. Nevertheless, the City’s Development Management Scheme (DMS) was subsequently amended to accommodate reduced parking requirements. Consequently, the City approved the development plans of Camps Bay without further consultation with the CBCRA or the community, despite their substantial opposition.
Willemse affirmed that the CBCRA firmly believes the development is unsuitable for numerous reasons and is currently exploring its legal options to address the matter.