It is official, Peppermint Palace will be demolished in the coming months.
The news was announced by a big banner on the front of the building with the words: “Eyesore coming down… Opportunity going up.”
In celebration of the news, the Muizenberg Historical Conservation Society will give it a send-off by mounting its cannons opposite the building and firing sponges with paint onto its walls.
While the date of the send-off is yet to be confirmed, society chairman Glenn Babb said members of the community can join by bringing along paint to graffiti the walls and pelt it with rotten tomatoes.
He said the building has been an “eye-sore and slum” for more than 30 years and the send-off will be concluded with music and snacks.
In April 2020, the Echo reported that Salicure Properties had proposed the construction of a five-storey block of 39 flats called The Muse.
It was reported that Heritage Western Cape had approved the demolition of the building, and various civic associations indicated that it was in support of it (“New face proposed for Peppermint Palace,” Echo, April 9, 2020).
Russell Smith, development manager for Absolute Capital, said they have been overwhelmed by the interest in the apartments since it was launched at the beginning of August.
He said the building will be demolished as soon as they have achieved sufficient pre-sales.
“At the current rate of sales, this could still happen before the end of the year and if all things go to plan we would like to do it in late November or early December,” he said.
He said instead of calling it The Muse, as previously proposed, they have decided to change the name to Wavescapes, as it overlooks Surfers Corner.
He said the five-storey block of flats will have 70 flats instead of 39 as initially proposed.
According to the Wavescapes website, the building will be articulated in three parts: a plinth, a body, and a top level.
“The plinth of the building consists of two parking levels with pedestrian and vehicular access from Main Road. The plinth references the memory of the original building footprint while the body of the building consists of four levels of apartments.”
The top level of the building, he said, will consist of six penthouses set back from the main façade, “which enhances the existing Muizenberg Main Road skyline in terms of architectural language and sensitivity to the neighbouring buildings.”
Mr Smith said as the current building borders the historic Het Posthuys that was built around 1743 as a lookout post and is the oldest building along the False Bay coastline, no explosives will be used during the demolition.
“It will be broken down with excavators,” he said.
The building, which was historically known as the St Andrews Hotel, has been vacant for many years and has become derelict and a hideout for vagrants in recent years.
The hotel was replaced in 1934 by the Atlantic Hotel after the original building was demolished. The Atlantic Hotel was extended to the north of the property in the 1950s.
Minor additions and alterations had been made 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 still in support of the development.
However, she said, December is not a good time to demolish the building as it will be high season and traffic will have to be managed along the Main Road.
“It is a very exciting time for the residents of Muizenberg and St James as it will give us a fresh new face for the area,” she said.
Cobus Joubert the owner of WAWA Workshop, which is next to Peppermint Palace, said he welcomed the demolition and is in favour of anything that will uplift Muizenberg.
“This building has been attracting the wrong type of clientele,” he said.
Ward councillor Aimee Kuhl said she is relieved that after years of financial and ownership problems with the building that it will finally be improved.
“We welcome the development,” she said.