Century City, Cape Town

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Century City
Main Canal within Century City, Table Mountain in the background
Main Canal within Century City, Table Mountain in the background
Century City is located in Western Cape
Century City
Century City
Century City is located in South Africa
Century City
Century City
Century City is located in Africa
Century City
Century City
 Century City shown within Western Cape
Coordinates: 33°53′30″S 18°30′30″E / 33.89167°S 18.50833°E / -33.89167; 18.50833Coordinates: 33°53′30″S 18°30′30″E / 33.89167°S 18.50833°E / -33.89167; 18.50833
Country South Africa
Province Western Cape
Municipality City of Cape Town
Main Place Milnerton
 • Total 2.62 km2 (1.01 sq mi)
Population (2011)[1]
 • Total 4,239
 • Density 1,600/km2 (4,200/sq mi)
Racial makeup (2011)[1]
 • Black African 15.9%
 • Coloured 10.1%
 • Indian/Asian 19.9%
 • White 49.6%
 • Other 4.5%
First languages (2011)[1]
 • English 69.6%
 • Afrikaans 15.7%
 • Xhosa 2.9%
 • Zulu 1.2%
 • Other 10.6%
Postal code (street) 7441
PO box 7446

Century City is a 250 ha suburb of Cape Town, South Africa that was the brainchild of Adrian van der Vyver. Century City is structured as a mixed-use development including entertainment, residential, retail and office components.[2] Development began under Monex Development in 1997 and continues under the new owners, Rabie Property Group. Investment thus far exceeds ZAR10 billion. It is located 10 km to the north-east of central Cape Town along the N1 motorway and is traversed by numerous waterways, wetlands and canals.[3]


During initial building phases, Century City's two original developments - Ratanga Junction theme park and Canal Walk shopping centre - were thought to be white elephants. Ratanga has run into many monetary issues, however, due to downsizing, off-season closures and the addition of year-round conferences and entertainment facilities, it has turned profitable. The then-125,000m² Canal Walk mall had exceeded expectations, resulting in a recent expansion to 141,000m² in order to meet demand. There were concerns that Century City would cause decentralisation from the Cape Town central business district, but thanks to the city improvement district (CID) and urban renewal efforts spearheaded by the Cape Town Partnership (CTP), this has not happened. This development thus remains another commercial node in the Cape Town metropolitan area while the city centre remains vibrant. More recently, the development has been criticized for causing traffic problems. Measures have been taken with an aim to improve congestion during peak hours.[4]

Canal Walk's exterior from the main canal

Developmental Components[edit]

Canal Walk was the largest shopping mall in Africa and the Southern Hemisphere in lettable area when it was opened in December 2000. Currently, the 141 000m² mall contains over 400 stores, 20 movie theatres, many restaurants and bars and an entertainment section. Architecturally, it was designed with the "Cape Venetian" style in mind. Two twin office towers - the Canal Walk Towers - rest atop of the mall.

Adjacent to the mall are two 11-storey towers called the Crystal Towers that opened at the end of 2009. It is the largest development in the precinct after Canal Walk itself. The R750 million development consists of Century City's first 5-star hotel with 180 rooms, as well as 91 luxury apartments and an office block.

Nearby is the 204-room StayEasy by Southern Sun hotel. It was the first hotel in the precinct when it opened in early 2001.

KnightsBridge is another R275 million residential development adjacent to Canal Walk, with 15 floors of apartments in two towers, with penthouses located in a 12-storey high bridge across the canal adjoining the two towers. Construction was completed in late 2006.

The Colosseum is a mixed-use R300 million development, including ground-floor cafe's, offices and a 70-room four-star hotel. Construction was completed in January 2007.

Villa Italia and The Oasis are two multi-storey, multi-building residential developments, the latter catering to the upmarket retirement community.

The Island Club was completed in 2005 and is a residential development located around a series of islands and canals opposite Canal Walk, and includes a small 23-room four-star hotel.

Century Gate and The Estuaries are two additional commercial developments, collectively costing R500 million.

Century View and the Bougain Villas are two low-density residential developments.

The Manhattan is a 15-floor luxury apartment tower that was completed at the end of 2008, consisting of a sectional-title hotel with 30 suites and residential apartments.

Numerous other corporate offices are located in and around Century City - especially along the N1 motorway. Mercedes-Benz and Daimler/Crysler/Jeep have lifestyle centres, which have recently opened adjacent to Canal Walk. Should they be a success, similar such lifestyle centres will be open worldwide. Similarly, BMW and Porsche both have buildings in the precinct too.

In 2009 Century City has been voted SA's best middle class suburb by Finweek Magazine.

Knightsbridge apartments


Built on a wetland area, Century City needed to comply with conservation measures. Intaka Island is a 16-hectare wetland area within the development. The wetland naturally cleans the water in the canals and provides a green lung in an otherwise high-density development.[5][6][7]