African liveability Economic development

Reviving the Maharajah Building

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230 Long Street is another development that is promising to inject fresh energy into the Central City. Having been the home of the iconic Maharajah restaurant and the Overseas Visitors Club for over two decades, there is lots of speculation about its impending facelift.

According to developer Christopher Ross, the Ross Family Trust is still fine-tuning the details of the project. At the moment the plan is for the ground floor to be turned into a bar/restaurant/coffeeshop combination with a twist. “In a way we want to emulate the strides made by the Long Street Café and others like Royale in uplifting the upper Long Street social entertainment scene,” says Ross.

The first floor and well known wrap around balcony is being transformed into a production site to be made available to the film and photo industry. “We also intend to offer the site as a venue for functions and musical events – the space can easily be adjusted to the situation and we plan to maximise the utility of what is one of Long Street’s most lovely balcony settings. It was always part of our brief to be intelligently flexible and attract some of the city’s bright minds by not being overly prescriptive in our vision,” says Ross.

The top floor will tie in with the first floor with six en-suite bedrooms to be booked out independently or in tandem with the production or function venue. “We plan to develop this as a compelling and sought after accommodation niche in this part of the city known for its highlife, bohemian, artistic and stylistic influence. Obviously we would like to stay within a reasonable tariff range while still offering an eclectic experience to those who wish to make Long Street the backdrop of their residence in Cape Town. Having had a valuable history in serving the local touring and travel industry and being on site at this address for 20 years we hope to present something here that impresses yet retains integrity.”

Long Street has no doubt seen many changes over the last hundred years and its energy and creative inspiration seems never-ending. While the challenges in creating and preserving its special vibe can’t be ignored, the street’s potential as well as the people’s will to constantly rejuvenate and uplift the area seems to be unstoppable and relentless. Watch this space…..

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