New face proposed for Peppermint Palace

An artist's impression of what the building will look like.

The look of Muizenberg Main Road could change significantly in the near future if an application to build a block of flats on the property where the Peppermint Palace stands, is approved.

Heritage Western Cape has approved the demolition of the building, which has in recent years become derelict and a hideout for vagrants.

The application by Duncan Bates Land Surveyor on behalf of Salicure Properties proposes the construction of a five-storey block of 39 flats called The Muse.

The public has until Tuesday April 14 to comment on the redevelopment of the former hotel and block of flats abutting the historic Het Posthuys on the Main Road.

The 39 flats would include three penthouses, 49 parking bays and two refuse rooms. The development will require a rezoning
from general residential 4 (GR4) to general residential 6 (GR6) to permit the exceeding floor factor of the proposed development.

While GR 4 allows for a building height of 24m, GR6 allows for
50m, but, according to Mr
Bates, the height of the proposed building is 17.6m, which is well below the 24m allowed for in GR4.

The existing building is five stories high, limiting the views of the neighbouring properties on the western boundary, so the new development, he said, would
therefore not have any major additional impact on the view of the abutting neighbours.

While GR6 allowed for a maximum building height of 50m, extending the building to that in the future could not happen without a new heritage impact assessment and a public participation process, Mr Bates said.

In addition to rezoning, an application for permanent land-use departures related to road improvement and building line setbacks has been applied for.

The application states that the proposed development encroaches onto the road-improvement line and the statutory width setback
and therefore required Province’s consent. The application says Province agreed in principle but the City still has to.

The application says the plans have been significantly re-worked and Heritage Western Cape has approved them, but the Echo was unable to confirm this with Heritage Western Cape by the time of going to print.

Ward councillor Aimee Kuhl said the existing building had been used for many years by squatters and criminals, making it one of the most undesirable buildings in Cape Town.

Its southern part was historically known as the St Andrews Hotel. It was later demolished and replaced by the Hotel Atlantic in 1934, which was extended to the north of the property in the 1950s.

additions and alterations in 1961 and the original hotel consisted of 85 rooms, various communal toilet and bathing facilities, a large restaurant and kitchen facilities, staff facilities, store rooms and boiler rooms, as well as a separate bar and billiard room in the newer portion of the building.

Glendyr Dade, chairperson for the Muizenberg Lakeside Residents’ Association, said the association was in full support of the plans to redevelop the site.

However, she said, there were a few technical issues the association had objected to through its exco member, local resident and architect, Stuart Thompson.

She said many civil organisations and the immediate
affected neighbours had also commented on the proposed development.

Ms Dade said Muizenberg residents believed the development would unlock the value of properties in the area while also changing the gateway to St James and Kalk Bay.

“Safety and security have been a huge problem in our neighbourhood for many years, partly as a result of this abandoned building.

“The resounding crescendo is, yes, we want the development to go ahead,” she said.

Ms Dade said the streetscape would be improved along with safety and security, which would be good for businesses nearby

The Peppermint Palace – given its name after being painted green many years ago – had been a thorn in Muizenberg’s side for at least 25 years, she said.

Chris Taylor, chairman of the Muizenberg Historical Conservation Society, said their main
concern was the width of the pavement at the corner of Het Posthuys. Narrowing to 1.7m it was well below the legislated minimum, he said.

“We want that widened to improve access to and visibility of Het Posthuys, which is a national monument and by far the oldest building in Muizenberg,” he said.

Salicure project manager Markus Caps said they were excited about the proposed development. He said the flats would appeal to the “wider market” but he couldn’t say how much they were likely to cost.