To the point
Sea Point is no longer just a holiday destination for the well-heeled or an idyllic place to retire. It’s having a prolonged renaissance, with what seems like a continuous rise of new commercial and residential developments. Brothers Paul and Saul Berman of the Berman Brothers Group (BBG) have been pivotal in this change and believe wholeheartedly in the potential of the area and its cosmopolitan vibe. Their new offices in the suburb’s biggest commercial development, The Point, which they developed with HCI, are testament to this – and the fact that they plan to be here for a very long time.
‘We want to be a step ahead of the industry. After all, our slogan is “on trend on time” ’ – Saul Berman
How did BBG come about and what is your business?
Saul: BBG was founded in 1994 when we decided to create a company that would exceed all expectations in construction and property development. Today we have in excess of 150 employees, in our new 1 000m2 offices.
Paul: We have very different qualities that make us uniquely complementary – Saul comes from a construction background, and I have a legal one. Our first project together was when we were awarded the tender for Cape Town International Airport, and we haven’t looked back. We offer our clients a diverse range of services including construction, project management, and property investment, management and development. Recently we launched BBG Properties, a real estate agency with the aim of providing excellent service in residential transactions.
‘We invested in the interiors, which include all the bells and whistles and sophisticated technology that identify with the BBG brand’ – Paul Berman
Why the investment in new premises?
Paul:We’re never going to retire, and we wanted our new cutting-edge offices to be our last move, so we invested in the interiors, which include all the bells and whistles and sophisticated technology that identify with the BBG brand, to take us through the next few decades. The employees of BBG, we believe, are more motivated and inspired to be working in a sophisticated space.
Inhouse brand architects oversaw the interior and spatial design. What was their brief?
Saul: We spend most of our time here and so wanted to create an attractive place to work. We took 1 000m2, which is more than we needed, and we designed it luxuriously to accommodate our needs as the business has grown.
Paul: Saul and I have different tastes in terms of design, so we thought it appropriate to completely outsource the architectural configuration and interior design to Inhouse Brand Architects and the execution to Construct Plus, both of which took the best of our respective ideas and interpreted them into what we have now. The overriding theme is one of construction – specifically, the raw materials, like the steel rebar we used for the balustrades, and the coffee tables made from spades and wheelbarrows.
What are your favourite features of the space?
Saul: I love the height – and the views, of course.
Paul: We invested heavily in technology, furniture, sculptures and artwork. We complemented the space with sophisticated art and sculptures from the likes of Dylan Lewis, Paul du Toit and Guy du Toit, to name a few.
How does the space reflect the business?
Saul: The space reflects the standard and quality of what we provide in every aspect of the business through its sense of modern elegance, sophistication, and in the superior finishes we’ve used. The whole development embodies a higher quality, which is one of the pillars we strive to encompass.
Why is Sea Point so happening?
Paul: There used to be a disjoint between the multimillion-rand houses in Fresnaye and the decaying properties on the high street of Sea Point. We believed that Main and Regent roads needed significant investment to bring them in line with the residential values of the Atlantic Seaboard.
So, through the City Improvement District (an NPO, which aside from cleaning up the area, is involved in a range of initiatives to help Sea Point operate at its full potential – www.seapointcid.co.za), we’ve provided a platform to entice developers to reinvest in the suburb. The rejuvenation of Sea Point is apparent in the number of new developers who have entered the market on the Atlantic Seaboard and the high demand for residential, retail and commercial space. Bermanbros.co.za
- Sea Point: www.seapointcid.co.za
Text: Genevieve Putter
Photographs: Micky Hoyle