Historic La Concorde to get a new lease on life

La Concorde in the Cape Winelands town of Paarl will be
getting a new lease on life. Property developers, Giflo Group have big plans to
revitalise the one-time head office of KWV.

The KWV building, as it is still known, is a landmark in
Paarl’s Main Road. When the site was originally chosen in the 1950s, it was
part of the farm Concordia explains Michiel Scharrighuisen, director and co-owner
of Giflo Group who recently purchased the iconic building.

The farm was across the
railway line from the premises where the Kooperatiewe Wijnbouwers Vereniging
had their first head office, alongside the
cellar,
laboratory and production facilities in Kohler Street
,” says
Scharrighuisen.

When the company outgrew the original head office it commissioned a new, bigger building in 1953. La Concorde was completed in 1958 and came to represent the significance of the wine and brandy industry of the Boland.

When the Vasari Group purchased KWV and the production
facilities in May 2016, La Concorde was excluded from the sale and KWV remained in the
building as tenants.

Giflo’s own head office has also been based in the building for six years, and transitioning from tenants to owners, we are extremely excited about the opportunity to restore La Concorde to the former glory of its heyday, preserving its heritage while updating it for a new era. It is fairly bubbling with potential” he says.

Scharrighuisen confirms that KWV will also remain as an anchor tenant, and that a new seven-year lease was recently signed.

La Concorde is situated on a large property of 25 000 sqm among massive mature oak trees. An imposing front entrance faces the street, and the façade includes three distinct gables designed by the Spanish sculptor Florencio Cuairan, adding a classical feel to the structure. Architecturally the building is characterised by long passages and higher ceilings than commonly found in modern-day buildings, with a domed lobby decorated with mosaic tile art. Copper hand railings and door handles are fitted throughout.

The building has space for more than forty tenants in
office offerings that range from 17sqm to 1 300sqm, with a total of
6 250sqm GLA. A fair bit of space is currently unoccupied.

In KWV’s heyday the property included staff sporting
facilities such as a squash court and swimming pool which have fallen into
disuse over the years, and Giflo is adding new, modern amenities as part of the
redevelopment. “Due to the size of the building it made sense for us to
include a variety of offerings to add to the tenant experience
,” explains Scharrighuisen.
The building has an existing cafeteria and coffee station, Team Café and Fleet Coffee,
which will be retained for now, and the new plans will see the addition of a functional training
facility, bicycle locker rooms, shower facilities and a roof-top braai area.

Since La Concorde is 62 years old with heritage status, all
additions are being cleared by the local heritage association and the
Drakenstein Heritage Council. “It is important for us to honour the history
of the building while updating the user experience, so plans have focused on
upgrading and revamping the internal offices, passages and lobby area while
preserving the external façades
,” said Scharrighuisen.

The renovation is scheduled to be rolled out in phases,
and phase one is already underway, with the refurbishment of the vacant
offices. New carpets, light fittings and blinds are being fitted, walls and
ceilings are being painted, and air-conditioning units are being repositioned.
The exhibition space which served as KWV’s art gallery will be redesigned to
create new meeting rooms and additional offices, which will be completed by
June 2021.

Source: Propertywheel.co.za | https://propertywheel.co.za/2020/10/historic-la-concorde-to-get-a-new-lease-on-life/

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