BKB buys first 4-star ‘green’ office building in Paarl
Cecilia Square, the innovative office building to be built next to Paarl Mall from early next year, now has a 100% owner. Wolf Edmayr, Managing Director of BKB Limited, recently signed the final paperwork to make his company the proud owner of this technology-intelligent environment-friendly development in the quintessential winelands town of Paarl.
Lazercor Developments initially planned to retain part-ownership of this A-grade office complex, but BKB soon indicated that they wanted to buy the entire office space of approximately 4 900 m2.
“We are expanding and simply had to find more space for our Western Cape office. When we received news of this development, we saw the investment potential and decided to buy the entire complex, rather than only the 20% we need at present,” Edmayr explains.
According to Edmayr the spaciousness and contemporary design were important factors, but the ideal location of these new offices played a key role in their decision to buy.
“Situated as it is next to the N1, this will be the ideal base from which to serve our business area, which stretches from the Western to the Southern Cape – to say nothing of the staff’s plans to make the most of their location right next to the Paarl Mall over lunch hours,” he smiles.
There were some other equally compelling reasons for BKB’s purchase, namely the advanced technology and environmental awareness inherent in the design. It is for this reason that Edmayr foresees no problem in renting out the remaining 80% of the office space.
“Our business philosophy is leaning towards becoming ‘greener’, and in that regard this development fits us like a glove – the design is aimed at achieving an international 4-star Green Star rating, which will make it the first green building of its calibre in Paarl. Ant then, of course, there is Cecilia Square’s attractive technology offering.”
Although ‘attractive’ is probably an understatement for this technology-intelligent development, which will feature a single managed high-speed IP backbone for services such as a fireproof data centre/server room, wired and wireless telephony system, VOIP access control and intercom system, state of the art surveillance system, dedicated high-speed internet access, business continuity and disaster recovery through 24-hour building systems management and maintenance, uninterruptible power supply for infrastructure and core network hosting.
Cecilia Square’s ‘green’ rating is based on its design, which is in line with international guidelines around the reduction of carbon footprint and minimal environmental impact. High quality building materials have also been specified for their ability to insulate and complement the energy-saving design of the building. Fittings such as lights that automatically dim or brighten, depending on ambient light, or air-conditioners that automatically switch off when no motion is detected for a certain period will further contribute towards keeping Cecilia Square’s electricity account – and carbon footprint – as low as possible. The technologically advanced design even takes into account the well-being of tenants, with advanced carbon dioxide monitoring and automatic adjustment of air quality.
“It makes so much sense – not only from the perspective of environmental awareness, but also practically, in terms of cost savings. The green design even makes provision for showers and bicycle parking areas – so maybe we should make it a rule that staff members should cycle to work, rather than drive!”, Edmayr teases.
BKB staff members are also looking forward to the move to Cecilia Square, which will probably take place some time during 2013. As one staff member puts it, “We spend a large part of our life at work – so if your environment is attractive and comfortable, it makes a huge difference to your productivity. And the views are something else!”
“I’m just glad they are keeping the old oak trees on the site – it will give the place a bit of a timeless feeling,” another adds.
Clients will not be impacted at all by BKB’s move – quite the reverse. Cecilia Square’s generous parking areas and easy access from the N1 will make it much easier for clients to visit the new offices… and even drop in at the neighbouring Paarl Mall along the way.
Mark Teuchert, a director of Lazercor Developments, is equally excited about this project. “We promised BKB that we’ll start construction early in 2012… and with this office building being our greenest development yet, we can’t wait to see the end result.”
It seems that office space in Paarl will never be quite the same again – and that other business owners may have to brace themselves for staff members badgering them to make the move to Cecilia Square.