CAPE TOWN - Ground in the Nelson Mandela Bay construction industry is set to break in December with a R1 billion government-backed housing development.
The developer of the project Sakhisizwe, says that more than 10 000 direct jobs and indirect jobs will be created during the five-year roll-out of the first “integrated development” housing scheme for the Eastern Cape.
Located on top of a hill of 50 hectares of land, Florida Heights will overlook Despatch, along the R367 across the Swartkops River.
Notably, 23 hectares of land will remain undeveloped.
The scheme is one of the “catalytic projects” identified by the national Department of Human Settlements throughout South Africa.
"This is a critical and much-needed project for the Bay, and one we are excited to break ground on", said Sakhisizwe chief executive William Charles, whose company was also involved in the development of the Port of Ngqura.
"As founders and proponents of Sakhisizwe Trust, Sylvia Charles and I have spent many years thoroughly researching integrated developments abroad -especially those in Germany and the Netherlands – and tailoring this project to fit the needs of local low to middle income residents", said Charles.
The development is separated into phases.
Phase One will see 1 020 housing units erected alongside community and mixed-use facilities.
In addition, phase one will allow for space for a mall, retail outlets, schools and churches.
Of the Phase One units, 740 will be social housing apartments or “walk-ups” for rent; 100 will be Finance Linked Individual Subsidy Programme (FLISP) residential units – homes sold to residents with government subsidies on the bonds; and 180 will be RDP homes and military veteran units for those living below the poverty line.
Phase Two, currently in the planning stages is expected to be completed in approximately 15 years time. This phase will include an additional 12 030 residential opportunities.
In all, the project is set to accommodate approximately 45 000 residents.
The Bay has a total housing backlog of over 80,000 units, according to the national Housing Development Agency’s technical assessment framework report for the Florida Heights scheme.
"The construction sector will benefit from a development of this scale. The future incomes earned by these employees will translate into spending power benefiting businesses and entrepreneurs, not only in the area but the surrounding economies".
"The existing road network will be upgraded in order to accommodate the additional traffic generated by the proposed development".
"The area is well located in terms of places of employment and main transportation routes. This will also contribute to secure property values. It can be concluded that the proposed development will have a positive impact on property values in the area".
Integrated developments such as Florida Heights are the first to move away from government’s RDP housing schemes as per the Social Housing Act of 2009, located far from social and healthcare developments.
Integrated developments include convenience hubs and public transport nodes.
"At all times, integrated developments should focus on the users it serves. This approach is fundamentally different from previous planning notions,” said Johnson-Goddard, adding that “integrated developments should create neighbourhoods and communities that serve and benefit each aspect of a person’s livelihood – whether it be work, live or play", says one of the urban designers on the project, Clayton Johnson-Goddard.
- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE