File picture: James White

Johannesburg - Atterbury Property is aiming to replicate the success of the Waterfall Estate development in Cape Town with its R5 billion mixed use development on a prime greenfields site in Milnerton, ownership of which was restored to the original owners in terms of the Restitution of Land Rights Act.

The project is the biggest and most ambitious undertaken to date by Atterbury in the Western Cape.

Called Richmond Park, it is to be developed on 84 hectares of land adjacent to the N7 highway in Milnerton, be a landmark business park and mixed use precinct consisting of retail, light industrial, commercial and warehousing property development.

Gerrit van den Berg, the development manager for Atterbury’s Western Cape developments, said Atterbury was the major shareholder in the development, which was being undertaken in association with local partners Bethel Property and Qubic 3 Dimensional Property.

“This is a groundbreaking project, not only from a magnitude and concept perspective, but also from a socio-economic and community upliftment perspective. The land on which Richmond Park will be developed is part of a landmark land restitution settlement,” he said.

Ownership of the site was transferred back to the Richmond Park Communal Property Association in December last year following a land claim.

Richard Glass of Bethel Property said about 400 families were forcibly removed from this land in 1972 and resettled in Atlantis and the Cape Flats, with these families today representing about 5 300 people spanning five generations.

“They finally had the land transferred back to them in December 2014 in the form of a community trust (the Richmond Park Communal Property Association), which has now leased this prime commercial land to the developers and is also a 25 percent shareholder in the development company,” he said.

Glass said about 15 000 jobs were anticipated to be created during the development period for Richmond Park and permanent jobs would be created by the commercial property tenants.

“What’s also crucial is creating employment and skills development opportunities for the Richmond claimants. Currently some 50 percent of the claimants are unemployed and survive off state welfare grants. We want to change this situation and see this as a socially conscious project and a catalyst for positive change,” he said.

Van den Berg said the property had bulk development rights for about 300 000m² over the next five to 10 years and was certainly going to be “a mega development”.

“It will be along the lines of the Atterbury initiated Waterfall development in Gauteng, but will focus more on commercial and warehousing due to its location in Cape Town’s industrial hub of Milnerton.

“The initial 300 000m² development phase of Richmond Park is anticipated to attract investment of up to R5bn. This will make it one of the biggest new commercial developments in Cape Town and Atterbury’s biggest development yet in the Western Cape,” he said. Van den Berg said Atterbury was proud to have landed the contract to develop this site.

“It has huge significance both as a major new commercial development in Cape Town and from a socio economic and community upliftment perspective, with the affected families benefiting through the community trust. The significance of this project has been recognised by all three levels of government, from the city and province, through to the national Department of Rural Development and Land Reform.

“We appreciate their support and assistance, which has been instrumental in getting us to this point to officially launch Richmond Park to the market,” he said.

The installation of bulk services to the site is set to commence this year, with construction of the initial top structures planned for the middle of next year.

BUSINESS REPORT