Atterbury’s new Western Cape office situated in the Winelands is La Gratitude Manor House – an iconic building, a national monument, and the second oldest building in Stellenbosch.
Originally built as a homestead by Dutch Reformed minister, Reverend Meent Borcherds, whose land stretched all the way down to the banks of the Eerste River, the homestead was aptly named out of gratitude for the fertile land and its plentiful crops.
“It’s not often that you get the opportunity to own such a national treasure in the middle of Dorp Street, Stellenbosch. For us, La Gratitude was an exciting opportunity to turn this beautiful building into something that serves its community today – in a respectful way, still in keeping with this historical landmark,” says Gerrit van den Berg, head of development of Atterbury Western Cape.
Over 25 years, Atterbury has earned a track record of investing in the community, culture, heritage and neighbourhoods in which it locates its offices.
The decision for Atterbury to move their Western Cape head office was based primarily on their space requirements. They opened their first office in the province three years ago, also in Stellenbosch with a very small team.
It acquired the historic Cape Dutch manor house, and renovated it with meticulous care. As a heritage building, very limited changes may be made to the building’s exterior, and while the facades can be maintained, no alterations will be allowed. The building, once home to a restaurant, is now being used for around 1,000sqm of office space with a smaller, 200sqm restaurant – Asta La Pasta.
Following approval from Heritage Western Cape, work on the building’s interior started, with the first tenants operating in their new premises from March this year. The second-phase application included the building portion of the restaurant as well as the exterior works which have recently been commenced. Completion of this phase is expected in August 2019.
“While planning our new office spaces, we quickly came to realise that there were a lot of smaller businesses around Stellenbosch with the same needs as ours – we have only five employees and can’t justify a receptionist and a full-time cleaner. We realised that this was a great opportunity to create the platform for a business community that could benefit from shared spaces, amenities and resources,” explains van den Berg.
The new spaces at La Gratitude Manor House offer office rentals that include cleaning services, a receptionist as well as a shared boardroom and breakaway areas.
“Several exciting businesses looking for hassle-free access to prime office space have already signed up for offices and have joined our vibrant community,” he says. They include Bowmans Law, RLB Pentad Quantity Surveyors, SKEP Studio, 1K1V (One thousand and one Voices), Pallidus Capital, Atterbury Trust and IPNLF (International Pole and Line Foundation). Atterbury occupy the building’s first floor.
Also, Atterbury has introduced its new co-working space, AttSpace, at La Gratitude. The 15-seater open-plan shared workspace provides a prestigious business address for entrepreneurs, small business owners, start-ups and freelancers with all the amenities they need – high-speed fibre internet, security, printing, meeting spaces, coffee stations, and more – in a quality environment and within a network of like-minded people.
“Although we will be making use of the latest technology, the building has a manor-house theme complete with antique furniture,” van den Berg says. “It has been exciting for the team to work on this project together, and we believe that we have created something that adds real value to the area. Converting La Gratitude from a restaurant to an office also means less wear and tear on the building, and in redecorating the interior we have been allowed to restore it to its former glory.”
This year, Atterbury is celebrating 25 years of developing prime office, industrial, retail, mixed-use and residential property across South Africa, the rest of the African continent and, most recently, in Europe.
“It is certainly fitting that in our 25th year of business, Atterbury is building on a great legacy and investing in La Gratitude to ensure that, like our business, it continues to remain vibrant and relevant in the future,” says van den Berg.