1871 Old Tannery in Wellington gets an "artisanal" make-over

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The landmark "Old Tannery" in Wellington will soon be the new hot mixed-use destination offering trendy office and retail space, restaurants and other leisure as well as a winery and weekend market and other family attractions.

The heritage property offers the ideal "artisanal appeal" and is a photographer's dream, hence its popularity as a wedding venue and it will continue to offer that says Phil Craig, a commercial broker with Seeff Wellington.

The "Old Tannery" dates to 1871 and is one of the oldest factories in South Africa. The restoration and development project are in keeping with South Africa's heritage regulations so that the unique architecture and character will be restored and enjoyed for generations to come.

When it was established as the Western Tanning & Boot Company by John Henry Coaton on his farm Olyvenhout, thousands of skins were tanned and about 100 000 pairs of shoes manufactured monthly. Power was delivered by a steam engine and turbine and by 1910 it was well established with several buildings and modern machinery. It survived the Great Depression, but in 1939 the shoe factory was destroyed by fire and never re-opened. The tannery continued to produce leather for shoe uppers among others. The Coaton family sold it in 1940 and it was taken over by SA Mercantile in 1944. By 2000, it produced enough leather to supply half of SA's needs.

When the new owners purchased it in 2017, it was a state of decay and dilapidation. Development started January 2019 to ensure full compliance with the authorities.

With the restoration and development well underway, some buildings already house a variety of creative and light industrial businesses while others are being meticulously refurbished to provide a space where people can eat, drink, shop and work in safety and comfort, says Mr Craig.

The completed development will include a ground floor level which will house food and beverage establishments such as a restaurant, coffee shop, selected permanent quality food concessions, general bar and a gin bar as well as an entertainment stage for live music and communal seating. The first floor is allocated to niche retail and office space.

Leading off the central Atrium, is outdoor space for seating next to river as well as a wine cellar with a wine shop, wine bar and a tasting room which will also be available for hire. There will also be ground floor exhibition space for a weekend market and additional undercover seating opening onto the courtyard.

The remainder, spread over the complex, will comprise of a brewery, distillery, entertainment space, a cooking school (with a restaurant and shop), more office space and specialised retail targeted at arts and crafts, niche food such as a deli and bakery and other middle class leisure, more restaurants and a gym. The complex will offer parking for approximately 750 cars after the next phase of development.

This is one of the most exciting developments in the area, says Mr Craig and offers rental rates ranging from R80/sqm for office space around the fringes to R150/sqm for central retail/office space  with incentives available for tenants who can add value.

Wellington is just 45-minutes from Cape Town and 40-minutes from the Cape Town International airport. It is also less than 30-minutes from Durbanville and Stellenbosch and under 20-minutes from Paarl.

As with most of the Winelands' towns, Wellington is grabbing the attention of buyers from all over the country according to Seeff's agents. It has become a sought-after residential area not just for those with work or business interests in the surrounding Boland towns, but even appeal to Cape Town's commuter buyers.

It is also a popular tourist destination and is increasingly popular with weekenders and day visitors.

Contact Phil Craig on 076 182 6148/021 864 2948 or email

Photographs attached

The Old Tannery in Wellington

Author: Gina Meintjes

Submitted 04 Dec 19 / Views 220

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