A CONFERENCE centre, with a total capacity of 1900 in 20 venues, and a 125 room hotel are to be built around a new public square in Century City as part of a R1-billion mixed use development in the Bridgeways precinct.

Glyn Taylor, joint chief executive officer of Century City Conference Centre and Hotel said the development was in response to soaring demand for conferencing and hotels in the burgeoning precinct and had been designed to complement Cape Town and Century City’s existing facilities.

“Not only will it fill a gap in the market but we believe it will help cement Cape Town’s established attractiveness as a conference destination.”

The Century City Conference Centre (CCCC), he said, would offer flexible configurations and a total of 20 different venues including 12 meeting and breakaway rooms and a business lounge.

Three adjoining halls will have a total capacity of more than 900 delegates cinema style with a fourth hall able to accommodate a further 480 delegates cinema style. The multi-function venues will also be available for banqueting and exhibitions while a large pre-assembly area will be available for exhibitions, product launches and the like.

The first floor meeting rooms will be able to accommodate at least 200 delegates in various seating arrangements, he said.

Gary Koetser, joint chief executive officer of The Century City Conference Centre and Hotel said the average hotel occupancy at Century City, which currently has a total of 460 rooms in five hotels, was running at over 73 per cent.

“And the existing conference facilities, which range from 20 seat venues to a 300 seat facility, are unable to keep up with demand and have had to turn away business, particularly for larger conferences.”

“Century City’s popularity as a hospitality node had grown phenomenally in recent years in tandem with the growth of the precinct which is now home to more than 500 businesses and with more than 260 000 square metres of offices is currently the third largest commercial precinct in Cape Town.

“The Cape Town CBD, which has an office component of around 900 000 square metres, is serviced by 5720 four and five star hotel rooms – a ratio of one room to every 157 square metres of offices – and this does not take into account the large number of three-star hotel rooms in the city.

“At Century City, on the other hand, the total number of hotel rooms from three to five star, represents a ratio of just one to 560 square metres of offices which indicates just how under serviced in terms of hotels we are for the corporate sector in particular. The node is still growing and as additional offices come on stream demand will further increase,” Mr Koetser added.

Mr Taylor said CCCC, in partnership with Century City Connect, Century City’s open access fibre optic network, will offer delegates and guests world-class fibre optic and wireless connectivity.

“The CCCC will have a fibre optic backbone running throughout the conference centre terminating in strategic positions in order to give guests the best possible experience connectivity wise.

“High speed wireless services will be available in every room and all services can be customised to suit every events specific needs.”

He said the wireless network would be built around an open access model which means that each delegates or guests will be able to select which ISPs services they would like to make use of.

“Alternatively an event organiser can choose to partner with a specific ISP for the duration of a conference.”

Mr Taylor said over and above the Century City Conference Centre and hotel, the mixed use development will include offices, showrooms, residential apartments and service retail and a five level parking garage with direct access to the CCCC. The entire development will be set over a super parking basement which, together with the structured parking, will provide a total of 1300 bays.

Anchoring the development will be anchored by a bustling, multi-functional Square on to which restaurants and the other hospitality elements will flow.

“Century City Conference Centre is one of three buildings that will form the focal point of The Square, a beautifully proportioned space that will offer users the opportunity to socialise, relax, dine and be entertained.

“The Century City Conference Centre has been designed as the hub and pivotal node of this precinct that will influence and generate future planning of its surrounds. The strong architectural form and aesthetic of the conference centre has been taken through to the 125 room Century City Hotel to form a L-shaped footprint that is then offset by the more sculptural and whimsical sheer glass façades of the seven storey freestanding office building that forms the balance of The Square. This environment is further enhanced by the introduction of the extended canal system of Century City and bold landscaping themes,” Mr Taylor concluded.

Murray & Roberts have been appointed contractors and have moved on site with all components of the development scheduled for completion by end 2015 and the first conferences expected to be hosted in early 2016.

The architect for the project is Vivid Architects while Source IBA have been appointed interior decorators for the CCCC, and Origin for the Hotel.