Multibillion-rand plan revived for old Conradie site

By Warda Meyer Time of article published Feb 23, 2016

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Cape Town - After years in limbo, the multibillion-rand mixed-income housing development at the prime 22-hectare Conradie Hospital site near Pinelands is being revived, with an estimated 2 000 jobs expected to be created during the construction phase.

The development, based on the Western Cape government’s live, work and play concept, has already piqued the interest of 36 developers.

Unveiling their ambitious plan to undo apartheid’s special planning in the city, Transport and Public Works MEC Donald Grant and his Human Settlements counterpart, Bonginkosi Madikizela, said the site will see more than 3 000 residential units being built on 22ha between Pinelands and Thornton.

Grant said the provincial government in partnership with the City of Cape Town and its private sector partners, plan to break ground by April 2018.

“We are proposing the construction of more than 3 000 residential units, as well as business premises, schools, and safe, green public spaces on this site,” he said.

Grant added that the integrated development is the flagship for the province’s better living model, which aimed at inclusive affordable urban living, by building integrated communities on the doorstep of the city centre.

“It is estimated that, for every R1.1 million rand investment, one job is created within the construction phase,” Grant added.

Madikizela stressed that 49 percent of the 3 000 housing units must be allocated to grant-funded housing, which will consist of social housing, FLISP (Finance Linked Individual Subsidy Programme) housing and rent-to-buy housing units, he said.

“The remaining 51 percent of the residential units will be made available to the open market. There are thousands of people living in the province who earn too much to receive a free house but who do not qualify for a bond to buy one. We believe this development will make a major contribution towards providing this group of people a meaningful housing opportunity and will help reduce the current housing backlog,” he added.

Madikizela said in terms of beneficiaries, those on the housing data base will get first preference because they are on the data base already.

“We will, however, encourage the developers to market as far and wide as possible,” he added.

Asked if the project has the buy-in of the local Pinelands community, who earlier opposed new developments in their area, Madikizela said they would embark on an extensive public participation process with all interested parties over the next few months.

“We are going to allow the residents of Pinelands to comment. This is a conversation we must have broadly with Capetonians and people in the Western Cape because the reality is that the in-migration of people to Cape Town is a major challenge.”

Grant said they had focused on addressing the potential increased traffic congestion resulting from the development.

“One of the benefits of this site’s location is its close proximity to established public transport modes, including access to the Metrorail service, and existing public transport routes.

“There is also the potential for the expansion of other public transport modes, for example the MyCiTi bus service, which will significantly reduce residents’ reliance on private vehicles,” he added.

Gary Fisher, who heads up the provincial government’s “better living model” said in light of the unfortunate experiences with the site, what they envisaged was a provisional sale of land with a land availability agreement accompanying that.

He said the development was not a new idea but went back decades.

“Assessments were done at the time. It goes without saying any development must take traffic congestion into consideration,” he added.

Regarding security, Fisher said the site currently was not secure and the improvement of the land in the manner they were suggesting could only increase the general security of the area.

Fishers added they were looking at four-storey buildings, adding it was unlikely it would be a gated community since the aim was integration and joining communities.

The Conradie hospital site has been a hot potato for the provincial government, in particular the ANC, who spearheaded the initial development on an integrated upmarket and low-cost housing scheme with office and retail space.

The land was initially sold at a bargain, for R80 million in 2006 under the watch of then-public works MEC Marius Fransman, but the contract was later cancelled and the sale reversed because the developer could not meet contractual obligations.

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Cape Argus

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